By: Alexis Stallard, Editor-In-Chief
I feel as if there will never be a dull year at Newman. After three years here, I’ve seen some things. But I want to take a trip down memory lane and talk about the things I saw this year.
This has been a year of exhaustion. I’m talking about exhaustion with classes, exhaustion with the lack of attention from the university, and just plain old exhaustion.
As for classes, I know I have been a little startled by the evident rise in homework and expectations from professors: namely professors who expect students to teach themselves. I don’t think I’ve ever been more frustrated with professors who think it’s acceptable to dump hours (yes hours, I keep track) of reading, annotating and writing on their students. Can I tell you how much I hate page count requirements? That’s saying a lot coming from someone who writes multiple stories a week for The Vantage.
Writing is something I could do in my sleep, yet even I am sick of it. Writing 15 pages isn’t going to prove I understand the topic. It’s just going to prove how resourceful I’ll become when pushed to my limits.
As for my exhaustion with the university, its leaders have never seemed like they were listening to students less than they have this year. Earlier this semester, Reiley Bartel, the Vantage’s online editor, wrote an opinion piece that sparked controversy on campus. The point she was trying to make was that some sports at Newman struggle to stay committed to the Catholic Identity. However, that point was not recognized by some, who instead got unfairly upset with her. Reiley just wanted Newman to care more about the things it stands for and was chastised for having that opinion. My inbox was filled with letters to the editor for weeks. It was her personal experience, just as everything in this article is my personal experience and view on things. We put these pieces in the opinion section for a reason, folks.
As for other instances of the university doing its absolute best to ignore students I have one word: turf. The softball, soccer and baseball teams will know what I mean, but for those who don’t, I’ll elaborate. Newman is known in the MIAA for being a private school with terrible facilities. All other teams in our conference, save a few, have turf facilities.Turf saves on time, money, and over-all, it looks so much better than what we’ve currently got going on out there with the huge holes or the dead patches of grass. Meanwhile, Newman’s teams spend thousands of dollars out of their own budgets to maintain the fields.The teams receive a small portion of money for so-called “field maintenance” but that portion doesn’t even cover what teams have to spend to get their fields ready for the season. Turf is expensive on the front end, yes, but it will save so much on the back end. It’s called an investment, and it’s one that the university is neglecting to make.
That’s enough complaining though because this year hasn’t been a total dumpster fire. Some pretty fun things have been happening on those old, out-of-date fields as well as in the electric Fugate gymnasium.
It has been a pretty odd year for the Jets athletic teams: odd because they have been winning a bit more than in previous seasons. The women’s basketball team this year made it to the conference tournament after a hard battle to get there. The women’s bowling team had a phenomenal first season competing in the NCAA Division II, spending most of its season ranked. Most recently, the baseball team (for which I serve as director of operations) made the conference tournament for the first time since 2014 with several players having record-breaking seasons. In fact, one Jet, Jenner Steele, broke and then far exceeded the record for single home runs in a season.
This year, the Newman community also saw the same annual events like High Tea and Party on the Plaza. Fundraising and community service were at all-time highs, with people most recently creating plarn (yarn made from plastic) and then using it to make mats for the homeless in the Wichita area. Props to the individuals who helped with all the volunteer events this year. You guys deserve a pizza party at the very least.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to each and every car that was broken into, had its catalytic converter stolen, or was simply stolen away this year. You are all heroes in my eyes, and your sacrifice has ensured that the university has no choice but to install an actually functioning security system, which, thanks to SGA, should happen over the summer.
On a serious note, thank you to Mo Floyd and the rest of the security team because they really do care about the students and their safety.
I have long joked that the Newman “bubble” is the Bermuda Triangle; You go in, weird things often happen, and you leave it a different person than when you entered. This year, I leave as an extremely exhausted and fed-up junior. Next fall, I hope to return as a freshly naive senior expecting that things will be better. Someone remind me: What’s that Albert Einstein quote about insanity?
PHOTO: Courtesy photo, Ian Lecki