Welcome to Everything But The Bagel, a weekly space to make you feel a little less stressed, and a little more grounded, just with writing instead of cream cheese. By diving deeper into the reality of life as a Trojan, Everything But The Bagel will help you get through the ups and downs of your college experience. Through relatable anecdotes, interviews, and my curated edit of recommendations, this newsletter will remind you that you are at this school for a reason, further helping you make the most of your time at ‘SC.

Dear Beautiful, Imperfect, Intelligent Humans,

When I wrote my first column 14 weeks ago I never could have imagined being where I am today. I also would have laughed if you told me I would be writing half of my columns from my bedroom in Chicago.

Everything But The Bagel gave me the opportunity to cover a wide range of topics from burnout culture to bad habits. I had the chance to interview incredible experts, entrepreneurs and professors, which enabled me to grow and find my voice as a writer, thinker, learner, and human.

While I want to leave you with some final words of wisdom, I want to take a minute to recognize everyone who made this column possible. In the wake of a series of student overdoses and suicides that was USC’s fall 2019 semester, our campus was devastated, to say the least.

Dan Toomey took a risk. He wanted to bring the conversation about mental health and wellness to our campus in an engaging and impactful way. And this he did with confidence and pride — your USC legacy will live on forever, Dan.

The health and wellness desk ended up being a small but mighty team of passionate, brilliant and hard-working writers eager to push the limits of journalism and mental health reporting. We range in majors from business to biology, but every Friday our desk came together to pitch stories that we knew our community needed to hear.

I’m sure everyone on the desk would agree that reporting on mental health and wellness during a pandemic is no easy feat when we, too, are uncertain and afraid. But every writer on this desk stayed committed to helping inform, serve and guide our community through this difficult period of time, despite their own uncertainties. Thank you for that.

The opportunity to work alongside Gabrielle Glaser and Michelle Cortez, two accomplished and inspiring professional journalists who helped us navigate the desk and edit our stories to perfection was incredible.

And last but not least, a huge thank you to the incredible Kellie Miller. You can thank Kellie for hiding my Oxford comma’s, changing my ‘wierds’ to weird (I still can’t get it right) and publishing my stories every Wednesday. Not to mention the enthusiasm that she brought to our meetings and edit sessions each week.

So as I reflect on everything I have learned about myself from writing this column, I hope that some of the advice I have shared over the past three months can help you do the same. Specifically, I encourage you to take this time to think about what and who really matters to you.

For the “what” — I’m talking values. What lights you up, gives you fuel and makes you smile? A good book? A home cooked meal? A 30-minute sweat session? Write down a list of at least five things and incorporate one of them into your daily routine. For me this has been my morning cup of coffee and a dance cardio work break.

For the “who” — try to think about who you want to be working for and slacking with. Ask yourself what types of classes you want to be taking and what types of projects you want to be pursuing even in less ideal and dire circumstances. And in your personal life, who do you want as your sounding board? Who do you know is there for you not only on the good days but also on the bad ones? It’s something to think about as the semester officially comes to a close this afternoon.

While I no longer will be writing to you every week, I will be back and ready for typos in the fall. But in the meantime, you can follow what I will be up to on my Instagram account that features my reporting here.

I will leave you with this quote: “You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.” — Michelle Obama

Now it’s your turn to interpret it.

It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later––you have my word.

Wishing you all a summer full of relaxation, good health, and laughter lots of laughter.

-Ella