GOODMAN: Leaving your mark on campus a worthy goal

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Goodman_WEBIn Tuesday’s issue, my fellow columnist Tony Manno wrote a piece on how average people should receive recognition just as much as those who are considered exceptional. As always, his column was witty, to the point and put on a clinic in the art of making fun of oneself.

His closing statement, “I think we all deserve a little something just for being around,” really got me thinking, though. It made me contemplate how those of us who are just “average” ensure that we do get remembered.

In a mere three months, Marquette will continue to exist without me. Senior Week will come and go, I’ll walk across a stage at graduation and then be no more than a name that may or may not be referenced every once in a while next fall.

I’ll move on to new things, and so will the school and its students. The only difference is that while I’ll move on with a Marquette degree and alumni opportunities, the school and students will move on without me.

Last week at a meeting for one of the organizations I’m involved in, part of the discussion was about how a program I created two years ago is currently being revamped. I listened as the logistics and structure of the program became more defined and efficient. I admired the way the program’s “look” transformed, making it more applicable to the social media that drives campus today.

The enhanced version of this program is wonderful, and I couldn’t be more proud of those who have had a hand in improving it, but that’s not to say the changes weren’t bittersweet to witness.

Such a bittersweet feeling isn’t only occurring in this particular organization, though – it’s being felt everywhere.

Everything I’m involved in is composed of new and eager faces excited to mold the organizations to their liking, just as I once helped to do. I walk across campus and feel like a new student again because the number of people I don’t know outweighs the number that I do. My phone was stolen in my second home – Johnston Hall – this week. If that’s not a message saying, “It’s time for you to leave,” then I don’t know what is.

I always said that when it was time to start letting go, I’d be able to. Letting go, however, is far more difficult than I had imagined.

It’s a struggle between still wanting to maintain a voice in the groups that made Marquette home while not wanting to be an overbearing senior trying to control things. It’s being proud and excited for the individuals stepping up and doing a better job than you ever did, while battling the jealousy that comes with knowing they still have so much time left here.

And it’s recognizing that although you may not know where you’ll be this time next year, Marquette will still be here, kicking on without you.

I’ve had three major goals for my time at Marquette: to help plan an awesome orientation week, to become a better and kinder person and to somehow leave my mark on this university while getting everything out of it that I possibly can.

With three months left, I can confidently say I’ve accomplished two of those goals. The last one, however, is still a work in progress.

To me, “leaving a mark” means being remembered for having mattered. Like Tony said, for some individuals, “mattering” is certain – you break a world record, publish a bestselling novel or become the president of the United States.

For us average people, though, it’s a bit more difficult. All we can hope to do is accomplish our goals, impact others in small ways and be the best people we can be. Maybe then we will have mattered.

In my time at Marquette, three incredible buildings (Zilber, Eckstein and Engineering)  have been constructed. Dining halls have been transformed. Marquette men’s basketball has made three straight March Madness appearances, with the last two being Sweet Sixteen showdowns. Countless hours of service have been done. One president has said goodbye, and another has said hello. Individuals – including myself – have grown into who they’ve always hoped to be.

Each of these things have mattered in helping Marquette become the institution it is today. All I want is for my contributions and time spent here to have mattered, too.

So as I proceed through these next few months, I’m just going to keep trying to matter. And on behalf of all the other seniors who feel the same way, I hope those of you who still have more time here give us the chance to do so.

Brooke Goodman is a senior studying journalism and political science. Email brooke.goodman@marquette.edu with anything you’d like to see her write about.

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