A Final Letter from the Editor…

Dear JCU community,

This is my last issue as chief editor. Yes, this is it! The day has finally arrived, I will be graduating in two weeks. Of course the future looks terrifying, but I am also grateful for all I accomplished in these years in John Cabot.

These last weeks are a good moment to look back to my university journey and reflect on what I have learned. I wanted to use my last editorial as an opportunity to officially say goodbye and leave some tips to my younger classmates. I don’t want it to be a list of “things you should know in college,” but simply a collection of lessons I have learned and would like to share.

My college years have been very important for my personal growth. I have discovered so much about myself and the people I love. I have met good friends and achieved many great goals. When you arrive to the same position I am in now, you will feel the same. Work hard so that when you reach your final senior month you can look back to the significant experiences you have lived through. Try new things, take risks, take opportunities and learn.

It’s incredible to realize how important these four years are in your life and in the process of becoming a full-functioning adult (what a terrible word…sounds like a threat). Stop for an instant and remember of all the ‘firsts’ you have gone through, or that you are about to go through. First home-cooked dinner by yourself, first time in Europe, first 12-page paper, first laundry, first time in an Italian car, first tattoo, first full conversation in another language and so on. Yes, you can panic a little, but please appreciate all these moments. I don’t know many people who are lucky enough to attend one of the most multicultural Universities in Italy, learn from people of all nationalities and eat pizza every day.

As I was saying, I learned so much about myself in these years. I think of this as a process, a series of steps, rather than a single “aha!” moment. Through my interactions with people, my successes, failures and ventures into new activities, I slowly began to piece together not only who I am, but also, who I want to be. I learned more about my interests, my personality, my strengths and weaknesses, as well as the qualities I admire in others and hope to see in myself one day. Growing up and trying new things also teaches you what you are not. In college, I learned that it’s useless to try to be something you’re not. By trying to be like other people, you kill the inner strengths that are unique to you. Being yourself will leave you much happier and people around you will sense your genuineness and appreciate you.

For example, I used to be the girl who couldn’t say no. I wanted to please everyone. It took me some time to realize that saying “no” isn’t about being weak, missing out or offending others.  Instead, it’s about being smart and understanding what you reasonably can and cannot accomplish. I suffered, I learned, I changed. I tell you: You need help? Ask for it. You want to help? Donate your time. Be kind, listen and always take care of yourself. Self-love is not selfish, it is important. You matter.  Don’t try to do an internship, a job, five classes and perhaps sport and a school club. You are human, and you are also learning. Sleep, a lot. Believe me, you need it. When you wake up, then you can and will move mountains.

Another one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to make the most out of what you have. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Colleges don’t just hand you scholarships, jobs don’t just land in your lap, and plans to study abroad don’t just appear in your day planner. First, something or someone has to make opportunities available and possible for you, and often, that person is you. You have to be the one to reach out, to talk to other people, to apply, or raise the money. If you really want to do something, start creating the opportunity for yourself.

I became Editor in Chief of The Matthew about a year ago and since I felt blessed to be able to make so many changes, and to have an impact on the JCU community. I managed a newspaper that had existed for many years before me and gave it a fresh look: new content, new ideas and new initiatives. I have made mistakes, and often felt lost and tired, but I persisted. I talked to people, was active, took all the opportunities I was given and made them grow. I was of course helped by many people: I am very thankful for the amazing friends and people who were next to me.

(Important note: don’t be so hard on yourself and RELAX.)

This example brings me to another really important point: care. Yes, you have to care for things to change. One of the best lessons I learnt in these years is that to advocate for myself or for something I care about. This is very important to learn. Make sure you don’t miss that class! I’ve understood that my voice is louder than I thought and that I must say what is important to me. I’ve learned that you have to fight for something- you choose what- but you must have something at heart and take a stance. It may be gender, race, animal rights, immigration or peace. You choose, but please, please fight for something. Care. Otherwise, you are wasting your potential. You can also choose doing something more, even on a small scale: it can be that one professor who does not respond to your emails, a class, or simply the vending machine for your favorite snack. Care. Accomplish your goal, chase down people, speak up. Oh, and perseverance is important. If it’s important to you, persist. College teaches you that whatever you do, there is a lot of competition; that you might not get that job, or the person you like, so just do it. Perseverance and care will get you places in life.

Many people have told me how The Matthew started looking a lot like me. It is true; there is a lot of me in here. It’s been a nice “work in progress” since September and I am very happy for many of the articles that were featured. My biggest pride is the “Shattering Stigmas” section that I started in November, which I hope will be continued in the new semesters.

I would like to acknowledge everyone who was involved in this year’s newspaper and tell them from the bottom of my heart: thank you! From my team, to the President and Deans, to faculty and staff. Thank you to Cassidy, Lydia, Polina, Cristina, Allie, Maggie, Joey, Prof Mancini, Prof Gutierrez, Alessia, Julia, Valentina, Pilar, Alessandra, writers and friends.

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Good luck with finals everyone.

Alla prossima JCU, I’m off to Santo Domingo!

Yours,

Enrica Barberis

Editor-in-Chief

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