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Grateful and graduating

Grateful and graduating

Zoë Hill ’22 November 22, 2022

Thanksgiving is here, which gives us all a chance to reflect and appreciate what the year has given us.There has been a lot of reflecting going on in my world lately, especially considering I am graduating in just a few weeks.

The University of Dayton has been my whole life for the past three and a half years, and I am endlessly grateful for what this school has brought me. I have met some of the most compassionate and intelligent people in the classroom and the neighborhood. UD fostered bonds that transformed professors into mentors, classmates into friends, coworkers into role models and neighbors into community.

I am constantly in awe of the opportunities that my determination and skill set, my professors and this university have earned me. I have bylines in Newsweek and the Dayton Daily News, which I could never have imagined for myself. One of my biggest sources of gratitude at UD comes from my jobs as editor in chief of Flyer News and student writer for UD Magazine. The work that I have done for both of these publications makes my heart swell with pride and appreciation.

Graduation also makes me think about and give thanks for the people in my life who will be there cheering me on and those who can’t be there.

My life-long best friend and roommate will be walking the stage with me, and I'm grateful beyond words for her support, friendship and comradery in the last few years of college and since elementary school. Cheering me on from the stands will be my mom and my sister who are my biggest fans, reading every newspaper, magazine and website that I have written for.

My “Nona,” who died this past spring, won’t be in UD Arena, but she will be with me. She was integral in getting me to this point of my academic journey — from homeschooling me in preschool, putting me on the bus throughout elementary school, driving me to club meetings in junior high and being an ear for my rants in high school and college.

My “Papaw” was recently diagnosed with cancer and won’t be able to travel to Dayton from St. Louis for the ceremony, but I am grateful for technology for him and my grandma to be able to watch from 400 miles away. I am also grateful for the inspiration and motivation he has provided for me all my life as a journalist and as a model of faith and strength.

This year has been incredible to me, and I am unimaginably thankful for everywhere it has taken me.

This year has been incredible to me, and I am unimaginably thankful for everywhere it has taken me. I have gotten the opportunity to travel to Connecticut, New York City, Niagara Falls, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. I went to 10 concerts and shows this year — one of my favorite things in the world to do.

I have discovered a love for reading and knocked out nearly 60 books on my “To Be Read” list. I have eaten my weight in tacos and baked more than 300 cookies this year — 250 of which were made in one day. I jumped into the freezing waters of Caesar Creek for the Polar Plunge. I developed a love-hate relationship for 5K races and will be running in the St. Louis Turkey Trot. I even got to sit in the front row of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The adventures and opportunities I have had this year are something I can never express enough gratitude for, and I cannot wait to see what I will be thankful for next year. I am looking forward to strutting across that stage in December and receiving my diploma with a full heart.

To everyone who has had a hand in pushing me toward that finish line: thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Beyond being blessed