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My Hardest Piece to Write: My Farewell Letters to Her Campus

I wrote my first article for Her Campus on September 24, 2017. Even though that was my initial hello, I knew that saying goodbye would come eventually. And it did… 147 articles later. 


“But Hannah, if you’ve written 147 other pieces, why is this one the hardest to finish?”


That’s a valid train of thought. It wasn’t always easy to write the other articles, but I knew I’d have more chances to channel this creative outlet. This is the last piece I’ll write for Her Campus, and it’s breaking my heart a little bit. But before my eyes fill with too many tears to even properly write this, I’d like to say some thank yous.


I would write all of these pieces even if I was the only one who would lay eyes on them. But I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank all the people who made sure that wasn’t the reality.


What will follow is a series of thank yous to all those who have made my time at Her Campus what it was: my favorite part of college.


To the people who joined with me four years ago,

It has been an absolute joy to know you and grow alongside you. Not many of us are left, but I still love all of you. We have all flourished in our own ways. I would especially like to mention Natalie and Kellen. Kellen, I will miss your perfectly timed one-liners, usually at my expense, and that ray-of-sunshine smile. And to Natalie, it’s been so fun seeing life through your very talented photographers’ lens embrace the writing element of Her Campus. You two are seniors who have been with me through the roughest of drafts, and for that, I thank you. I am so excited to see where life takes you and I’m so happy you could be part of my story just as I am happy to be in yours. 


To the people who joined any time after that,

Because I’ve been in HC since the beginning of my college journey, I’ve had the distinct joy of seeing so many different individuals come and go with the club. The names seem almost endless! I have loved to learn about you in words and actions. You all are some of the most well-written and well-spoken people. I wish I could name all of you, but just know you’re some of my favorite authors.


To the future members,

I don’t know what the likelihood will be that you read this or that you ever hear my name. I hope you do though. I hope I’m a shining reminder of what this club can be for everyone: a haven. Use this club wisely. Joining not only gives you an outlet, but you’ll find people who charge your spirit with love, laughter and repeated pleas to use or not use the Oxford comma. If you’re ready to make the best decision ever, now is the time. 


To all the CCs who came before me,

Thank you to Emily, Kasey and Hailey for giving me unmatched examples of true patience and leadership. Emily and Kasey were the CCs when I first joined. I was immediately drawn to their bubbly personalities at the club fair my freshman year. I owe a lot of my knowledge about the club and the best memories within it to the two of them. And for Hailey, we were tied at the hip and the headline of every piece we wrote (whether that was together or not). We joined at the same time and climbed the ranks together to be co-CCs together for a year. We really were a dynamic duo. Love you. 


To the CC who stuck with me,

Cheyenne, I cannot thank you enough for braving the chaotic, uncharted waters of Her Campus during a global pandemic with me. I could not have done this alone, nor would I have wanted to. I am endlessly proud of you, especially because I got to see your full evolution from the beginning. And look where you are now! Knowing I had you this year to rely on made all of my worries decrease tenfold. I hope I have given you ample examples of how to lead, but I have no doubt you will leave your own beautiful, individual mark in due time as well… you’ve already done that, as far as I’m concerned. 


To the exec board of this year,

I appreciate how dedicated you were to your respective roles. You know who you are. Your patience with me and willingness to adapt will take you all so far. I am so grateful that you wanted to have a more involved part in Her Campus and that the determination to do so didn’t waver in the face of adversity and obstacles; you all made an indelible mark in a year I thought could only be marked by regrets that it didn’t go differently. And for that, I can say your resolve to not be defeated made all the difference.


To the CC who will be in my shoes next year,

Emily, I am beyond thrilled that you stepped up to the plate, threw your hat in the ring, etc. You are relatively new to HC, but you embody all the things I have always loved about writing for HC: humor, grace, intelligence and a love of play-on-words. I hate that COVID dictated that we could never meet face-to-face, but I know as one of the faces of HC, the club will continue to make the days of many, many people. Reading all your pieces definitely did that for me. I have loved seeing you fully embrace all the elements I love about this club so quickly because you remind me a lot of myself. I want to be your biggest sideline cheerleader because I’ve been there. And I want to be there for you


To the new executive board,

If you joined this year in general, I applaud you for taking the leap. It was anything but ordinary, but I think that is what makes you all extraordinary. Macey and Brianna, I am so excited to see what new and inventive ideas you bring to HC as fresh faces. I think you two will redefine the social element of HC and make it even better to look at and connect with than it already is. And Meg, I know you will continue to smash the event planning. If anyone can wrangle these wonderful writers into fun at the drop of a hat, it is you.


To all my readers (past or present),

I simply could do this without all the kind remarks and comments I receive, but I’m really glad I don’t have to. There were many times I was brought to tears thinking about the way my words impacted you all and your feedback did the same for me. Whether you’ve read 1, 14, 47 or 147 pieces of mine, I appreciate the time you gave me. I’ve had the time of my life sharing these pieces of who I am with those people who encourage me to explore every side of me. You are all vital characters to this story. 


To my laptop,

Thank you for never crashing, despite how many articles I feverishly typed on you. You are my ride or die.


I also want to thank myself. I wrote that first piece about lifeguarding and rescues, but joining Her Campus four years ago saved my own life. I am so happy I’ve had this outlet for the last four years, and I will be forever grateful for the pieces I’ve written and the piece of my heart this club stole.


I will use that, wear it on my sleeve and continue to write. This is a goodbye to this chapter, but it’s not the end. 


I’ll just turn the page.  

My name is Hannah Hippensteel, and I like to say I'm a Chicago city-slicker, but I'm actually from the 'burbs. I'm currently a senior at Winona State with a major in mass communication-journalism and a minor in sociology. Catch me enjoying all Winona has to offer: the bluffs, the incomparable Bloedow's Bakery, and not to mention, Minnesota boys. With a goal of working at Teen Vogue, Seventeen or Glamour magazine, I'm soaking up every opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse and share my personal voice!
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