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Reflector seniors say farewell to UIndy

Posted on 04.26.2017
From right to left: Mercadees Hempel, Kylee Crane, Quiaira Johnson and Ainger Alexander. Photo by Laken Detweiler

From right to left: Mercadees Hempel, Kylee Crane, Quiaira Johnson and Ainger Alexander. Photo by Laken Detweiler

Kylee Crane, Editor-in-Chief

In conversations focused on my rapidly approaching graduation and years spent at UIndy, I have been asked, “So, are you satisfied with what you have done?” And I smile and immediately answer.

You see, I live by cheesy, Pinterest-worthy, motivational quotes. One of my favorites that is displayed in my bedroom says, “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” It’s a great reminder that playing it safe is a risk in itself, so you might as well take those steps out and see where that takes you.

Some of my “steps” have been successful—gaining experience and education through various leadership roles on campus, applying and receiving amazing internships and meeting some people I will call friends for the rest of my life. Other steps have led to falling off broken branches, which may have led to heartache and failures. Either way, I grew and learned.

I spent weekends working in the newsroom or studying for an exam and other weekends out having fun and doing nothing productive with the best of friends. Either way, I created beautiful memories I can talk about for years.

Some weeks were filled with stress and tears—days when I could not wait for it all to be over. Others were filled with fun and laughter, days when I wished this time would never end. I have awards nailed along a wall to show for the hard work I’ve put in, and I have hundreds of photos to show the fun and other experiences I have had along the way.

So when someone asks me if I am satisfied with what I had done, I smile and say, “Absolutely.”

I hope you can do the same.

Mercadees Hempel, Managing Editor

Ever since I was 6 years old, I have known exactly where I was going to be and what was going to happen: I was going to go to school. But now I don’t know where I will be next year at this time. Luckily, there is always a choice. I can be anxious, fret about it and worry myself sick. I don’t like that choice. Instead, I choose to be happy.

I am happy that I have spent four years on The Reflector staff at my dream campus. I have made amazing friends, connected with hundreds of people, interned at my favorite newspaper, NUVO, been mentored by the best professors, and even met the love of my life in the most unlikely place at the most unexpected time. I would like to thank my friends who always understood when I couldn’t hang out due to production. Thank you to my Reflector staff for the laughs, the tears, the stories and the love. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you, Kyle, for all of the rides home and for saying yes when I asked you to be my boyfriend on our second date. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for being in my corner since day one. Nobody in this world will ever love me as much as you guys do, and I love you more. Erik and Zoë, I would say don’t let me down, but I know you won’t. I would say make me proud, but you already have.

I cannot thank everybody who helped me get to this point enough. I don’t know what happens after this, but whatever it is, I can’t wait to share it with you all. In “Abarat,” the book that made me want to be a writer, author Clive Barker writes, “Perhaps a wiser eye than hers would be able to read tomorrow in tonight’s stars. But where was the fun in that? It was better not to know. Better to be alive in the Here and in the Now—in this bright, laughing moment—and let the Hours to come take care of themselves.”

Quiaira Johnson, Business Manager

“But even the worst decisions we make don’t necessarily remove us from the circle of humanity.” –Wes Moore

You probably are wondering why I chose to base my farewell on that quote. The simple, honest answer is because we are our own worst critics. College is the place where trial-and-error gives us the push we need to help propel us into chasing and choosing the very things that help us best live our lives. In that process, we fail. Sometimes we fail so badly that we think we cannot recover. Whether a failed exam or class, a friendship, an intimate relationship—whatever the failure is, it does not remove us from the circle of humanity. In fact, it helps us search within our experiences to define what encompasses basic humanness.

My time at UIndy has definitely been a roller coaster ride, but it is one for which I am and will forever be grateful. The process of figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life has not been easy; in fact, I still don’t have it figured out. One thing that I can tell you is that this journey, through its hardships and celebratory moments, has taught me that I, like you, can only get better from here. My advice is to “do you.” If you feel like going out to drink rather than studying for that exam, do it. If you think that having an internship is more important than being part of a club or organization, do it. If you want to lie in bed and watch Netflix on days when you’re just not feeling it, do it. If you are even considering studying abroad, do it. My point is that you should do what you want to do because you feel it is what’s best for you at that moment. Sometimes, our decisions may leave us in some crazy places, but learn from them, and use them as positive reinforcement. You are better than your last mistake, misjudgment, or failed exam. Take these years and make the best of them, and learn what it means to you to live your best life.

Ainger Alexander, Editorial Assistant

I am not the traditional student. I did not have the luxury of coasting by on mommy’s and daddy’s money while in school. I have supported myself ever since I was 17 years old, and that only grew more difficult when I turned 18 and came to college. I had to worry about paying bills, tuition costs and having emergency funds in case something went wrong. I worked two, sometimes three, jobs at a time while maintaining full-time status at UIndy and being involved on campus. That’s very hard to balance when you have to support yourself, yet people are telling you that the only way to be a successful student is to simultaneously “be involved on campus as much as possible, volunteer, excel academically and work on your career.”

All of these things and more are the key to post-secondary success. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining. I actually take pride in working for everything I have. However, I wish that someone had told me that self-love and self-care are equally as important. Missing a class or failing an exam is serious, but not as serious as a decline in mental health and feeling burned out. These things cause emotional strain, physical strain and sometimes they’re just not worth it. Working my body and mind so hard and overextending myself are probably some of the things that most negatively impacted my university experience. If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be: take care of yourself. Take breaks from cramming, explore the city you go to school in, spend an afternoon doing things you love. And when you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked and overextended, take care of yourself first.

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