ST. ONGE: Who would have thought

I had four years to prepare for this moment. Yet I stare at a blinking cursor, waiting for the next thought to come to mind.

Four years to start, to jump into the deep end and continue to learn and grow through everything that Marquette has provided me. Four years to prepare to write about all the memories and the things that have pushed me to become a better person and journalist. Four years to remember the friends and the mentors.

Four years to wonder in front of a computer screen: Where do I begin?

My journey to college was unconventional. It was ever-changing and surprising, filled with turns and hiccups until I landed in the email box of a lovely Marquette faculty member. Who would have thought an email would change everything.

I jumped headfirst into what Marquette had to offer. I knew nothing about the campus or the program until I stepped foot into Johnston Hall. I remember sitting in Mark Zoromski’s office, which was then still in the basement of Johnston Hall, wondering how could I get involved? What should I do?

Who would have thought that was the beginning of the next four years in my journey with the Marquette Wire.

From there, I applied to be a reporter for the news desk. Unsure and nervous, I continued to keep pushing myself to cover everything that came my way. I kept diving in, wanting to get more involved to know more people, to make this place and campus something familiar to me. To make Marquette my friend when I knew we were still strangers.

At the end of my first year, we were only acquaintances. There was still so much more to do and learn.

During my sophomore year, I was an assistant news editor and was quickly hired as the executive news editor, a big job for a girl who was still so unsure of herself and who she was, and if Marquette was the place she was destined to be. I led a desk of reporters as young as I was and we continued to report on the latest news throughout the year.

The days and nights I spent in Johnston Hall with the others who were there for me — to push me and to guide me to more and better — started to feel like I was home. These people were becoming my family.

My Marquette experience would not be the same if it weren’t for my junior year. It was the year that I served as the managing editor of the Marquette Journal. The feeling that I was starting to feel — this comfort and ease — was what I wanted all along, but I knew I had to keep searching for it to make sure it was mine.

Finding Home was my first issue as the managing editor. We explored what made this campus, this community, home for so many. But we held ourselves accountable for why it didn’t at times, from rising tuition costs, struggles with mental health to homelessness in the city of Milwaukee. Finding Home was a magazine and a town hall forum, where hundreds of community members came to listen and be part of the conversation that asked, why Marquette?

 

It was one of my proudest moments. Not just because of how we served our community with important information, but because it was one of the first major team efforts that I saw and was a part of at the Marquette Wire. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was truly involved in this forum.

It was then that I realized it was never going to be the place that would make me feel like I was destined to belong. It was the people. They are the ones who I was supposed to meet all along. They are my reason for everything.

I’ve made friends and lost some along the way. Though I may not be friends with everyone I’ve met, they taught me lessons on how to persevere, how to grow, how to be better than what was then for what is now.

A good friend of mine always made every negative situation into a lesson. I’m grateful for every lesson I’ve learned along the way.

But to the ones who have always stuck by my side through everything, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

To Laura Schram, thank you for your immediate support, encouragement and guidance. Without you, I would not be where I am today.

To my friends and constant supporters. The list is too long to name everyone, but to name a few: Sydney Czyzon, Zoe Comerford, Aimee Galaszewski, Kelli Arseneau and Benjamin Wells. Your smiles are infectious and your friendship is endearing.

To those I met along the way: Tom Durkin, Diane Foley, Jeff Stingley and Leah Flack. Your inspiration is contagious.

To Mark Zoromski, for your constant encouragement, guidance and reassurance. This job is too big to do it alone and I’m glad I always had you by my side.

To Andrew Byrne. I’m so grateful our paths crossed. We are meant to be.

To my family for being behind me every step of the way. I would not be able to do it without you. Mom, I know days are hard, but your strength is what keeps us all together.

For those who were placed in my life, thank you. For the love, for the support, for the lessons. Serving as the 2020-21 executive director of the Marquette Wire has truly been the honor of a lifetime.

Who would have thought the time would go by as fast as it did?

I don’t know what my next steps are or what the future holds, but I do know the second floor of Johnston Hall, in the newsroom with the big windows that overlook Wisconsin Avenue that will always have a smiling face on a hardworking student sitting at one of the computers, will forever be a place I can step into and know that I am home.

This story was written by Natallie St. Onge. She can be reached at natallie.stonge@marquette.edu.