Column: Handing Over the Reins: Thank You Loyola Student Media

My last three years at Loyola have been nothing short of wonderful, transformative and unexpected.

As I sit in a Joe and the Juice just around the corner from Loyola’s Water Tower Campus on the second-to-last Monday of my senior year of college, I can’t help but reflect on the last four years of my life. 

I moved into my first dorm on East 55th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue Sept. 26, 2019 ready to start my college career as a communications major with a dance minor at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. I was following my dream of becoming a professional dancer in the city I’d always wanted to live in, which felt too good to be true at many moments. 

After my first month of living there, I knew Marymount wasn’t the place for me. With the help of Dr. Laura Tropp, my first journalism professor in college, I realized journalism was what I wanted to pursue. Fast forward to mid-April the next semester, when I was sitting in the living room of my childhood home in Leawood, Kansas sheltering-in-place during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, reading my Loyola acceptance letter. Four months later, I moved into my first apartment in Rogers Park, ready to begin a new chapter of my life. 

Somehow, these memories were three years ago, but to me, they feel like yesterday. Today, I’m preparing to start my career as a professional sports reporter — a path I never thought I would end up on — both prepared and scared for what’s to come. 

My last three years at Loyola have been nothing short of wonderful, transformative and unexpected. I’ve learned more about myself, my interests, strengths and weaknesses than I ever could’ve imagined. I found my passion for sports journalism and telling others’ stories, met my best friends and established a new life for myself in downtown Chicago. 

Throughout all this learning, I experienced heartbreak accompanied by a deep depression and clinical anxiety, watched my younger siblings grow up from afar and saw both of my parents get remarried. Though my journey has been amazing in every way, it’s important to note the hardships I’ve faced along the way, and how they’ve shaped me into the person I am today. 

College is a fun and liberating time but also brings about so many buried emotions and nerves. It’s perfectly normal to not know what you’re doing and in fact, many people have no idea what they’re doing — most of the time, I still don’t. Take a deep breath, call your family, take a walk along the lakeshore and remind yourself you’re right where you need to be. 

This past year, I’ve served as the Executive Producer of Rambler Sports Locker (RSL), Assistant Sports Editor of The Loyola Phoenix and most recently Sports Intern at WLS-TV ABC7. There are simply no words I can use to describe my gratitude to the positions I’ve held at Loyola or the people and lessons I’ve learned along the way. I might never be able to articulate just how grateful I am for it all, but there are a few thank you’s I must dole out before officially handing over the reins. 

The first person who comes to mind throughout all of this chaos is my mom, Tracy. My best friend, my rock and my biggest supporter — I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you, mom. My dad, Dan, and my siblings, Luke, Ethan and Bella receive the next biggest thank you’s. You all have inspired me more than anyone I’ve ever met. Thank you for your continued love and support, it never goes unnoticed. I hope to make you guys proud. 

To Julie West, Technical Producer of RSL and now one of my closest friends, thank you for putting up with my craziness this year, for trusting me with the process and overall, being the best right-hand woman. I’m forever grateful for you. 

My section editor and now one of my best friends, Fernando Molina Bier, thank you for making me a better writer, person and Spanish-speaker over the last two years — the last month and a half-ish in particular — you are such a light in my life and I can’t wait to see where this next chapter leads you. 

To any and all future executive producers and assistant sports editors, don’t take this job for granted. Some of the most amazing and life-changing opportunities are about to come your way — enjoy every second of it. 

With all of this said, I will be continuing my work at ABC7 as a Sports Intern after graduation and throughout the summer before my next adventure arises. Thank you, Loyola, for the best three years of my life thus far. I can’t wait for what’s to come. 

Featured image courtesy of Gabbi Lumma

Gabbi Lumma

Gabbi Lumma