Christine Nappi

Staff Writer | Features Editor | Senior Writer

The one thing I wanted to do when coming into college was to write for the school newspaper. As the shy, nervous, excited, but ultimately determined freshman I was, I made it my mission to introduce myself to the editor of The Breeze, James Madison University’s student-led newspaper, and apply for a staff writer position. Having written for my high school paper, I decided that I was going to be a journalist when I grew up and wanted to pursue the art of storytelling and news reporting at JMU, a big state university in Virginia. 

I was excited to attend my first staff meeting of The Breeze. I was starry-eyed, filled with hope, and couldn’t wait to write my first piece for the Arts & Culture section, the section I was hired at. But unbeknownst to my naive self, writing for The Breeze was challenging, competitive, isolating, and intimidating. I only met with and knew the other writers in the Arts & Culture section alone. I felt like I had to battle to cover the stories I wanted to, and felt more intimidated than welcomed, given that I only had my high school journalism experience to fall back on. I felt intense pressure to write in a timely manner and after receiving tons of edits from editors, needed to put everything else aside and rewrite my story as soon as possible. Toward the end of the semester, the editors told us they would need to start letting people go from the staff. There were too many of us and some were supposedly not as strong of writers as others, which stripped away any opportunity for us freshmen to learn the ins and outs of journalism. While The Breeze is an incredibly impressive, robust, and well-written student newspaper, I ultimately did not enjoy a single minute of writing for it and had a major identity crisis; I questioned everything I thought I would be, the career path I had my heart set on, and questioned the person I dreamt of being. Maybe I couldn’t be a journalist after all. 

Among other reasons, aside from my experience with The Breeze, I decided to transfer to Manhattan College for the second semester of my freshman year. JMU is a great institution and will always have a special place in my heart, but the school just wasn’t for me. Manhattan on the other hand was closer to home, smaller, and just seemed like it’d be a better fit for me. Given my identity crisis, I also decided to switch my major from journalism to public relations, thinking I would like it more. But I didn’t want my experience with The Breeze to be the end-all-be-all with my relationship with journalism. I still loved storytelling and wanted to commit to my dream, and promise to myself, of writing for my college’s newspaper. Despite feelings of apprehension, I still felt compelled to write for The Quadrangle. 

I remember reaching out to The Quad’s then Editor-in-Chief, Taylor Brethauer, over Facebook. I felt so awkward sliding into her DMs (lol) to tell her I was transferring and wanted to join The Quad. I questioned if she would even see my message or respond. But she did– and she couldn’t have been more excited and welcoming. Even though I was a random stranger, Taylor was eager to have me join the staff and invited me to The Quad’s winter workshop meeting, which took place a few days before the spring 2019 semester began at Manhattan. 

The people on The Quad were the first people I met at Manhattan College– and gave me the best impression of the type of community we have at this school. When deciding where I wanted to transfer, my mom, a second generation Jasper, suggested I look at Manhattan College because the community of people is something I wouldn’t find anywhere else. She couldn’t have been more right– and I discovered that at the first winter workshop meeting with The Quad. 

Coming into the meeting, I was instantly welcomed with open arms and appreciated how each person really took the time to get to know me, even though I was a new addition to the staff. The Quad members took the paper seriously, going over important news on campus, who would be covering what and things like that, but they didn’t forget to have fun too, cracking jokes with each other every other sentence. I could tell right away that The Quad was really just a big family, that just so happened to print a paper each week.

Leaving that first meeting, I was confident that writing for The Quad would work out. I remember writing my first article on the Dorm Wars event held in Draddy, and at the meeting that week, I got a massive round of applause from each staff member for having my first official byline. I struggled to find that feeling of community and care for each other at The Breeze but was glad that I finally found a group of people who simply just wanted me to learn, have fun, and ultimately do journalism. Since day one The Quad has been so supportive of me and has helped me pursue my passion for writing– all while putting a smile on my face in the process of it all. 

During my time with The Quad, I reported on some groundbreaking and heartwarming stories. I told the stories of alumni, who now lead the New York Stock Exchange, work for the MLB, own their own business, and developed the COVID-19 vaccine– showing the community that our Jaspers are impressive people. I wrote compelling profiles on remarkable students and professors who influence campus in more ways than one. I reported on how the college adapted to COVID-19 while upholding its commitment to the Lasallian Mission, and told the stories of how Riverdale Rises amid pandemic setbacks. I got to cover springfest and interview the performing artists (and had a major fangirl moment). I had the chance to explore the archives and write about my family legacy, learning more about my grandfather who was a fellow Jasper back in the day– something I would’ve never experience had I not transferred here. This by far was my favorite article I ever wrote. 

Regardless of what story I was writing, I enjoyed every minute of it because I was pursuing my passion for storytelling, all while entertaining, informing, and inspiring readers with each word I wrote. 

For my first three years writing for The Quad, I was a not a scholarship recipient. However, this didn’t stop me from doing journalism and doing what I love. I was eager to cover campus news and get more writing experience, simply just because I loved doing it. The reason why I love writing and storytelling is because I get to meet new people and hear their stories– realizing in the process that there is more to a person than just whats on the surface. I’m happy to say that in my final semester of college I became a Quadrangle Scholarship recipient, which motivated me to keep sharing important stories with the community. Writing for The Quad has introduced me to the most amazing and inspiring people, and I felt honored to share their stories with the rest of campus. Writing for The Quad has also brought me close to my amazing colleagues and fellow staff members. I am proud to call each member of our staff a close friend of mine, and I am going to miss each one of them dearly. 

By now, given how much I’ve spoken about journalism and given how long this farewell is, you’re probably thinking that I did end up pursuing journalism after all. But I can’t lie– having that identity crisis and questioning my career choice was really a blessing in disguise because I fell in love with the public relations profession. I’m extremely honored and excited to say that I’ll be working full-time at an amazing, industry-leading PR firm this fall (alongside one of my fellow Quad members too!) Although I’m not pursuing journalism, The Quad has taught me valuable skills that I will take with me into the PR industry and onward. 

As I end this article, I want to leave readers and my fellow Quad members with a piece of advice: never give up and keep doing what you love. Cheesy, I know, but it couldn’t be more true. Chase that story, uncover the truth, be the voice for the voiceless, and keep writing! But most importantly, don’t forget to take advantage of your time here at Manhattan College. This is a special place, with amazing opportunities and even more amazing people. College goes by so fast, so don’t forget to soak up every opportunity, memory, and enjoy your time here. And to my fellow graduates: although you may not know what the future holds, Manhattan College has prepared you for any challenge that comes your way. 

Katie Heneghan 

Staff Writer | Web Editor | Senior Writer

It’s difficult to explain my gratitude for The Quadrangle over the last four years. The Quadrangle special talent scholarship was my deciding factor in making a college decision. That decision has brought me lifelong friendships, a wonderful job and an invaluable experience to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from a great college. Every Tuesday at 4 p.m. I’ve been fortunate enough to be greeted by an amazing and intelligent group of my peers who support and uplift each other to become the best writers, students and advocates they can be. 

I owe all my love to our corner of the Bronx, and I couldn’t be more grateful for what the college, and this scholarship has provided me. To my peers on the newspaper, keep doing journalism and don’t take life too seriously. You all do such amazing work and I’m so inspired by each and every one of you.

To Manhattan College — I hope you continue to give prospective students the opportunity to write through the Quad Scholarship, as it’s a reason so many of my peers and I are here. Thank you for the memories!

Keep experiencing the uncommon, 

Katie Heneghan 

Maddie Johnson 

Staff Writer | Web Editor | Senior Writer

I came into quad thinking I would write monthly, not weekly, and strictly for one section, but I grew to absolutely love the paper and appreciate what we do as student journalists for Manhattan College.

I am going to miss writing for the quad immensely and am so grateful that the paper has given me the strong set of skills and determination I need to work for the public relations agency. I am going to miss all the incredible masthead members and writers that have encouraged me to put out amazing work and I wish them the best of luck in the future!