The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

2024 Commencement Student Speaker: Lea Tarzy
Alexandra Slofkiss: 2024 Commencement Soloist
Outstanding Senior Award: Bernadette Maramis
Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Gloria Sporea

May 10, 2024

Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

Excellence in Athletics Award: Meghan Quinn

May 10, 2024

Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

Excellence in the Arts Award: Joselyn Busato

May 10, 2024

View All

Senior Reflection: Spencer Howell

When I started my Bucknell career in the Fall of 2020, I had no idea the changes I would come to face. By the end of my first year, I felt like I’d had it all figured out. I’d secured an on-campus job that I loved, I’d learned enough about myself to know that International Relations was my discipline of choice and I had friends. I still have some of those friends, but the dynamic shifted quicker than I had ever expected. By sophomore year, we were living in different areas all across campus and regular hangouts ceased to exist. It was okay, though, because I had easily integrated into leadership in the Queer community and my priorities for myself and my learning had shifted all on their own. 

Being a member of the Queer community on campus has been one of the main highlights of my college experience. Through my involvement, I was enlightened with the concept of gender identity. This forced me to take a look at myself and how my gender identity is not what I had originally thought it to be, how my sexuality and other identity markers combine with that to make me who I am. I was playing with different pronouns, names and I even started writing down ideas for a Queer book I’d had floating around for a while. I still have plans to write that book one day because, as Nobel Prize recipient Toni Morrison once said, “if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” The world needs a story about the struggle of naming yourself, and though I was able to publish a story about my own name journey and how all of the names I have had have defined different periods of my life, there is so much more left to discuss. 

Surprisingly, my Junior year was marked by the most notable period of personal and professional growth after finally settling on the name that is most mine, Spencer. It was the year of my Presidency of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and I was forced to face many hard truths about my most stubborn tendencies. I was never great at taking criticism, and taking others’ opinions into consideration was simply out of the question. A huge shout out to the Director of Gender and Sexuality Resources, Bill McCoy for calling me out and holding me accountable for these shortcomings. I am forever grateful that he cared enough to be real with me about all the ways that I’ve been problematic for so long. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all of the times I’ve cried in that man’s office!

Now, though, as my time at Bucknell comes to an end, I am grateful for all of the people I have met and connected with over the years. My one wish, if I had the option, would be to go back and foster deeper relationships than I had been allowing myself to up until this point. I am fortunate enough to know so many people, but I have unfortunately never felt like any of my connections have been deeper than your average friendship. Overall, I appreciate my time at Bucknell for all of the ways it has forced me to grow as a person, but a lack of close friendships is something I will come to regret for years. Of course, this is not to say that there is no one I plan to keep in touch with. For me, the end of an era is never something that I can come out of empty handed. 

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