By Rachel Popa
When I was first starting my freshman year at Roosevelt University in 2014, wide-eyed and mystified by the city, everyone told me that the next four years would fly by. At the time, I found it hard to believe, but looking back writing this about two weeks away from graduation, that sentiment couldn’t ring more true. Being a student at Roosevelt has truly been a transformative experience, and it’s one that I will be forever grateful for.
I truly believe that Roosevelt is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets. When talking about the university to my friends and family, I always make sure to mention the amazing professors here. Whether I was taking a required math or science course, or a high-level journalism course, the professors were so passionate about the course material, and were dedicated to seeing their students succeed. Because of the small class sizes, being able to work closely with professors has been instrumental to my success.
Speaking of professors, I would like to thank the incredible journalism faculty in the communication department for being such incredible mentors. Specifically, I’d like to thank John Fountain for teaching me what it truly means to be a reporter, and for encouraging me to go outside my comfort zone to get to the heart of the story. I’d also like to thank Linda Jones for helping me improve my writing and editing skills; her feedback, knowledge and guidance has been invaluable.
Additionally, I thank Anne-Marie Cusac for pushing me to be the best reporter I can be, both inside and out of the classroom. In tandem with Anne-Marie, I would also like to thank Heather Dalmage for the transformative experience I had traveling with her through the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland last May – from London, to Belfast, to Dublin. Learning about race in a global context is an experience I’ll never forget, and I couldn’t have asked for better professors to travel with.
Being a double major in journalism and English, I’ve had the privilege of splitting my time between the communications department, and the department of literature and languages. I would personally like to thank Priscilla Perkins for the hands-on teaching experience I got being a peer instructor for her creating college writers class. I also thank her for her help and guidance through the years, as she was my academic advisor starting my sophomore year, all the way through my last semester. I would also like to thank Ellen O’Brien for cultivating my love for English literature in her British lit course.
One thing I discovered early on was that journalism and creative writing go hand and hand; good storytelling is universal. I would like to thank Christian TeBordo for teaching me that workshopping poetry can mirror cultivating ideas in a real life, creative work environment. I also thank Kyle Beachy for giving me the skills to read as a writer would in order to improve my own writing. The experience of workshopping my creative work is one of the most valuable things I’ll take away from my time at Roosevelt.
Lastly, I’d like to thank our faculty advisor Billy Montgomery for the help and support he’s provided over the years. Every single one of my professors here at Roosevelt has helped shape me in some way, so thank you to anyone I didn’t mention here.
Of course, I also want to thank my mom. She’s truly my rock, and if it weren’t for her sacrifices, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you mom for always believing in my dreams. I would also like to thank my Uncle Mike and his husband Jimmy for the love and support they’ve given me these past two years – I wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.
While it’s certainly hard to say goodbye to a place where I’ve spent so much of my time these past four years, I’m excited for what the future holds for me. If there’s one last thing I’ve learned from my time here at Roosevelt, it’s that hard work, passion and dedication can take you far.