So THAT’s What “Make Your Life Count” MeansA senior reflects on the doors Gustavus has opened for his future.
Posted on May 21st, 2024 by

Being a Gustie means trying different things and seeing what works for you.

In a previous article, I mentioned that when I first came to Gustavus during the pandemic-infused autumn of 2020, I spent most of my time outside class guzzling down Doritos and making myself comfortable in front of YouTube.

That version of me, like all of us, faced an unprecedented challenge right as we were making a massive transition out of high school. Every coming-of-age tradition we expected to experience was gutted in favor of (in my case) sitting at my desk in front of a slideshow of high school graduation and playing Zoom bingo. Like many of my peers, I was pretty down, to say the least.

I emerged from the pandemic reflecting on why I was here at Gustavus. The obvious answer is that I was getting an education, but that doesn’t really capture it. There were opportunities at Gustavus that I hadn’t considered until I’d been here a few years, but in January 2023, I realized that I wanted to try something new. So, I sat down and I started typing on my laptop. It was an application for a writing position at a little newspaper called the Gustavian Weekly

Writing has always been a talent and an interest of mine, but it wasn’t until later in my time at Gustavus that I actually realized I could do anything with it other than “pen” books about unicorns. Starting with the Weekly, though, and eventually continuing to this writing position with the College’s Marketing Department, was a game changer. It forced me to sit down and put something to the page, consistently, every day. And little did I know that that was the start of getting me pretty entrenched into the Gustavus community.

The funny thing about writing news is that you end up with one foot in a lot of different doors, learning at least a little—and sometimes a lot—about a variety of things you’d never even thought about before. You get a sense of how the Student Senate works, and learn about the Fulbright Scholarship. You get to talk to everyone from the Provost, to the person leading our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging efforts. You might even get more acquainted with the work of famous guest lecturers.

I found a vocation that I latched onto, and it was at that moment that Gustavus opened up to me.

I’ve thought about that a lot, in connection to one statement we’ve all heard but has always slightly confused me: “Make Your Life Count”. Those four words never rang true for me until now. Not so much because I feel like I am part of some mythical Gustavus Powerful People Club, but because I found a vocation that I latched onto, and it was at that moment that Gustavus opened up to me.

I never would have thought that tapping away at a keyboard would land me the opportunity to use this platform for this entire College. Nevertheless, I have had the utmost privilege of writing to and for all of you for the past year, and it’s been an absolute blast.

I can’t thank all of you who read enough for taking the time to read my stories; and in particular, I can’t thank those of you enough who complimented me either via email, or at Patrick’s on Third, or anywhere else.

Elliot Steeves ’24

You all kept me going, with all sorts of positive reinforcement, and pushed me to write about NLE Choppa and the Counseling Center and all sorts of other niche topics I might have never thought about. And it certainly helps to have people behind the scenes here who helped me polish my abilities.

It doesn’t stop with me. One of the best ways to learn more about something is to cover it. This doesn’t mean everyone should go out and be a reporter, but doing this kind of work could reveal opportunities you never knew were out there. In my case, it’s helped me land my first post-graduation job, as a general assignment reporter at the Anoka County Union Herald, where I’ll get to write—and learn—about a whole new community.

That’s why I’d encourage any of you with similar interests and skills to write for the Weekly or  look into this writing internship with the Marketing Office. It got me posting here and helped me figure out how I want to make my life count, and it could do the same for you.

And with that, I’ll sign off. See ya, Gusties!  




Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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