I had just been through a breakup with the theatre major, and the divorce settlement was by no means amicable.
My dreams of acting professionally were quickly dashed with a few signatures and a confirmation from the registrar early into my sophomore year. I was sad, but couldn’t say I was surprised—I knew in my heart that I just couldn’t keep up. I once looked at Broadway stars like Sutton Foster and Bernadette Peters and swore I would be just like them—only to soon resent the very thing that once gave me so much joy. The magic of live theatre had worn off.
Besides, my gut was telling me that I needed to be doing something else—something that I was truly passionate about. But what WAS I passionate about? I like the Buffalo Bills and a nice cup of coffee, but can’t major in that. Great. Guess my quarter-life crisis was coming a few years early.
I sat down not only with myself but with my dad, who helped me figure out next steps. “Well Gracie, you know that you’ve always been a writer,” he said to me. He was right. I had been spinning tales on paper as soon as I could hold a pencil. Friends and stuffed animals everywhere were subjected to my infamous “story times.” Some drawings on some construction paper were by no means in the running for a Pulitzer, but they were the seeds that would soon sprout into a lifelong passion. I just didn’t have the confidence to chase it yet.
My new major was media and communication, with a minor in creative and professional writing. The media/com world was my oyster, and a wide-eyed, recently-divorced theatre kid had no idea where to start.
“Try WMUH,” the station manager told me. “The only station that matters!”
“What about MBC?” said the president. “You can have your own cooking show.”
It wasn’t until I found myself sitting across from Mustafa Hall ‘23 at the Wood Dining Commons that I knew where I needed to be. “So, you’d like to write for The Weekly?” he asked me, his smile big and his eyes kind. I told him that I had had no journalistic experience. He didn’t care. “If you have something to say, I want to hear it.”
As enthusiastic as I was about becoming a Weekly writer, it was poorly timed—just a few weeks after I published my first article, we were sent home. Yet, I used this as an opportunity to write about the world around me. I poured my grief, my agony and my anxieties onto the page, calling out into the seemingly empty Muhlenberg void in hopes that someone would hear. I wrote pieces about grocery stores and the anti-mask movement and my debilitating fear that Trump would win again. Each piece was in its own way therapeutic; it gave me a space to both stay connected with my Muhlenberg community while simultaneously reckoning with what had become my youth. With each word I wrote, I grew up a little.
As I reflect on my time at Muhlenberg and at The Weekly, I think about this growth and how it has shaped me not only as a writer, but as a person. I think about the people who have been there for me—Bestie(s) Mustafa, Tom, Cydney, Kat. I am so grateful for your friendship. I sincerely thank The Weekly for taking a lost theatre kid and shaping her into someone who loves journalism, loves chasing the story, and loves the process. I have that confidence now.