Farewell From Brie Underwood, Vanguard’s Layout Editor

Courtesy of Brie Underwood

By Brie Underwood

 

   While I haven’t been a member of The Brooklyn College Vanguard for long, it is bittersweet to write this farewell after two semesters of membership. That being said, my positions at The Vanguard have never been focused on writing for a reason, so I’ll try to spare you from reading too much of what I have to say while also simultaneously using this as a space to express myself and my feelings about graduating out of The Vanguard and college.

   If you asked me about my thoughts on my college experience and how it affected me, you would probably get a response that you wouldn’t want to hear (I mean after all, a pandemic abruptly ended my first year as a college student and resident of NYC), so I want to focus on the positive things I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. I started my career at Brooklyn College thinking I was going to be a theater performer, and while yes, it was a waste of my time, I wouldn’t have given it up for anything. While it was one of the most traumatizing times in my life, I was able to use this experience to learn how to fight back through my own work as a theater artist and professional. I love being able to use my platform and work to support diversity in theater and all art forms. I can’t give Brooklyn College all of the credit for that, but it was a good platform to start, whether it was providing me with wonderful friends and colleagues, to things like being able to have my own radio show to spotlight LGBTQIA+ artists. 

   One of my favorite things about college was taking classes in different major programs and areas to try to get a more well-rounded education. So many of these courses and programs could work so well together, but they all seem to operate in separate sections. I wanted to see how I could combine these programs and studies together, which led me to CUNYBA.

   Oh CUNYBA, my college savior. I love you and you’re the only reason why I am graduating. CUNYBA, or CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies, is a program within the CUNY Graduate Center where you can combine programs and majors to create a unique study program that fits you and your future career(s) while taking different courses at all CUNY schools and staying a student at your home campus. If you haven’t looked into it, you definitely should. It’s never too late! (Unless you’re a graduating senior, of course.)

   With CUNYBA I was able to combine these programs and courses that I loved to create a degree program that was perfect for what I wanted to study. There’s something so special about being able to tell hiring managers for a Broadway social media marketing job: “Yes, my major is actually social media and performance marketing.” What a flex!

   I say all of this to say, it is super important that you advocate for yourself as an individual and student. As much as people claim to support you and be there for you, only YOU know what you want and what is the best course of action for yourself. That doesn’t always mean transferring to a different school as I did, but making sure that you are using this time of education to support yourself, your current and future goals, your physical and mental health, and just staying mindful. 

   I love the clubs I have been able to be a part of at Brooklyn College, and I truly would not give up these experiences for the world. I gained some lifelong friendships and skills that I never thought I would be able to get before. Having these clubs as a creative space to express myself while also supporting others was absolutely worth it. Shoutout to The Brooklyn College Vanguard and WBCR for having such a kind and considerate place for me to grow, even if it was only for my senior year. Join clubs earlier! It is so worth it! You meet incredible people and get to do such cool things (that your student activities funds are used to support)! 

   Okay this was a huge word dump on my end, so I’ll wrap it up by saying: 

  1. You are the best advocate for yourself and your feelings.
  2. Take some time every now and again to be mindful and take care of your mental and physical health.
  3. Try new things! Join a new club! Go to a club’s event to meet new people! Have as much fun in college as you can!
  4. Wear a mask!

   Many thanks to Michela and Gabriela for being such amazing mentors/editors at The Vanguard, my friends for being the best, my family who are always there for me, and Norman and MJ, my most loyal supporters, who can’t read this because they’re cats. Finally, to quote the best Star Wars movie of all time, “Revenge of the Sith,” “This is where the fun begins.”

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