Yearly Wrap-Up: A Few Words on Sophomore Year

Happy Finals Week! This week represents the bittersweet ending to another school year. I can honestly say I’m pretty sad to be leaving Hawk Hill after completing my second year. This year was an unforgettable one; I made new friends, learned a lot,  and had new experiences. In this post, I’m going to write about 3 things that really made this year the best yet.

New Friends

My two best friends, Cass Muratore and Molly McDonald

Adventure Club at Relay for Life 2016

What can I even say about these two individuals. You know the phrase “other half?” Well I’m convinced I’m divided up into thirds, and these two are my better thirds. Cass and I have been friends since the beginning of freshman year, and we just met Molly at the beginning of this year. We’re all Communications majors, which made it really easy for us all to have something in common. The rest came absolutely naturally. Same interests? Check. Same music taste? Check. Same general love and appreciation for life? Three checks. We call ourselves the “Adventure Club,” but our usual outings include going to Wawa for large $1.80 coffee and hanging out in the Merion Atrium. These two people have made me see the beauty in everything around me, no matter how ugly it seems at first. They are my rocks and my favorite people. My sophomore year would not have been the same without them whatsoever. So, I’d just like to take a few lines to thank them. Molly and Cass: Thank you for being my best friends, for all the adventures (big and small), for always letting me feel like I can be myself, and for accepting me no matter what. I can’t wait for the next two years and the rest of our lives together. 


New Things Learned

My favorite class: Visual Rhetorics

Personal logo project for COM 202

My favorite class this year was definitely COM 202: Visual Rhetorics, taught by Rachael Sullivan (who is also my adviser; whaddup Rachael). I loved this class because it allowed me to explore the parts of Communications that I didn’t even know I loved. Visual Rhetorics is basically all about visual communication: videography, graphic design, photography, audio design, and the beauty of white space. I learned so many things in this class that have helped me in more aspects of my life than just Communications. I learned how to design a nice looking flyer, how to document my community, how to make rich, beautiful sound, and how to take awesome pictures on my iPhone. Before taking this class, I didn’t know how much I loved branding and design. This class led me to have a better idea of what I want to do with my life. It made me understand how important a creative mind is. Most importantly, it made me realize that creativity is absolutely everywhere, we just don’t always recognize it.


New Experiences

APEX 2016


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Honaker APEXers at the Breaks Interstate Park

If anyone has spoken to me since March 13, you’ve probably heard about how much I adore APEX. For those who don’t know, APEX stands for Appalachian Experience, and it is a student-led service immersion program to the Appalachian Region of the United States. Every year, 500 SJU students embark on these trips, and come back as better versions of themselves. This is exactly what happened to me. I’ve been wanting to write a post about my whole experience, but it would be too impossible a feat to do it justice through words. What I can say about APEX is that it has made me into the person I am today. You may be wondering, “how can one week affect this girl so much?” Well, I don’t really know the answer to that. I’m just as surprised as you are. While in Honaker, VA, which is where I went for the trip, I witnessed the deepest systematic social injustice I’ve ever seen. I saw poverty, neglect, and sadness. But when I think about this trip, those aren’t the things that come to mind. What comes to mind is love, joy, and community. The love we received from the community of Honaker was unlike anything I’d ever felt before. They constantly thanked us for what we were doing for them as they were feeding us, housing us, and facilitating this incredible experience. On top of that, the feeling amongst the 31-person group I was in was love in its purest form. For anyone who knows the meaning of agape, that is the feeling. For those who don’t, here’s a quick Wikipedia blurb:

Agape (Ancient Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē) is “love: the highest form of love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.”[1] Not to be confused with “philēo” – brotherly love – agápē embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends that. Serves regardless of circumstances.”

That is what APEX is. To the people of Honaker: thank you for being so kind to us. You gave us more than we could have possible given to you. To my group: thank you for being the best 30 people I’ve ever met. Thank you for the love, the laughs, and the memories.


So, that is my sophomore year in about 800 words. I love this place called Hawk Hill and I would not be who I am without it. Thank you to SJU for another amazing year.

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