By Owen Russell
I have never been good with goodbyes. That might actually be an understatement. Goodbyes, they have always been horrible for me, sometimes beyond my control. The year I graduated high school, my tooth fell out, my grandma died, my grandpa died, I got mono, in that order. At my commencement ceremony I caught a 101 fever and sweated through my cap and gown so furiously that you’d swear I just came from the water park. Now, as I prepare to graduate from Brooklyn College I find myself faced with yet another goodbye.
Despite occasionally checking over my shoulder for a second bout of mono, this graduation is shaping up to be a much better experience. Like anyone who began college post-2019, my college tenure has been anything but easy. Through all the nonsense, there are countless people who have helped me along my way. Rather than spend this farewell reminiscing about my time at Brooklyn College, I’d like to thank everyone who helped me on this collegiate odyssey because truly I could not have done this on my own.
Thank you, first and foremost to my parents for supporting me and helping me through this whole process. It would have been easy for both of you to attempt to dissuade me from studying film or pursuing journalism in favor of a more stable career path. You have always supported my dreams, whether that be by allowing me to take over the house for a four-day film shoot, or by schlepping all the way to Pottstown, PA, to watch “Bronko” premiere in a rundown roller rink. I love you both, thank you so much.
Thank you to both of my siblings, my brother Aidan and my sister Grace. I have forced both of you to act in my films, and you did so with minimal complaints… but seriously thank you both for being the funniest, most supportive siblings anyone could ask for. I promise I’ll return the favor someday.
Thank you Julia, my girlfriend and best friend. We met freshman year at a soccer game neither of us wanted to attend and look at us now! You have been my biggest fan for the past three and half years, and I cannot do justice to how much your support means. Also a big shout out to Julia, Yale’s newest public health superstar!
Thank you to everyone who wrote for me on The Vanguard. I understand that writing for the school newspaper is not the coolest flex in the world, but I appreciate all the hard work from each and every person who made the sports section as successful as it was.
Thank you to my editors: Gabi, John, and Michela. I have not always been the most predictable writer. Watching me turn in a 3,000 word baseball Hall of Fame ballot has to be a colossal headache. I apologize for all the stress I may have caused, and I thank the three of you for continuously making my articles better. (Also, thank you to all the section editors I have worked with. The budget meetings would not be as fun without all of you).
Thank you to everyone I have ever made a film with, but specifically Rich, Derek, Trey, and Victor. While I would never dare tell any of you four to your faces, I appreciate your friendship and I don’t know how I would have made it through the film department without you.
Thank you to my professors. I have learned how hard your job really is, and you all put up with so much. You deserve to be paid more. Special thank you to Mustapha Khan, Christopher Lilien, Frank Rinaldi, Carey Harrison, Dijana Jelaca, Lauren Belski, and Jasper Lauderdale. You all went above and beyond with your classes, and taught me the most.
Thank you Judith Kenny, the best professor anyone could have at Brooklyn College. Seriously, ask any film major and they will gush about how incredible Judith is. Thank you for genuinely caring about your students, and prioritizing them as a people above all else. I don’t think I would have made it through these past semesters intact without your advice.
Thank you to everyone I have ever interviewed. You did not need to share your time or story with me, and I appreciate your vulnerability. Thank you Dr. Saadi Ghatan, Myron Kandel, Ethan Page, Curtis Sliwa, the Brooklyn College Football Team, and the 1982 basketball team, as well as everyone else!
And finally, thank you to anyone who has ever read a copy of The Vanguard, or watched one of my short films. What else do people do this for? Having people enjoy your work is the highest rush money can’t buy, so thank you very very much.
I guess that is it. I am sure there are dozens of people I am forgetting to thank, so I apologize in advance. This has been a wild ride, and I’m sure it’ll only get wilder once I’ve graduated and get catapulted into the world beyond education. Thank you again. Sincerely, Owen Russell.