Like the Wild Geese

Senior Producer Emily Hybl’s final Pioneer piece.

This is the first in a series of “senior sendoffs” from our fantastic fourth year Pioneers. The producers and editors are given (almost) free rein with content to reflect on their time at The Pioneer and U.Va. Emily chose to focus on a poem by Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.


Four years. Blink and you’ll miss it.

There are the quantitative ways that you can measure it. 4 years. 5 jobs. 6 water polo championships. 7 housemates. 8 semesters. 9 road trips. 10 formals.

I choose, however, to look at the qualitative. The memories made and the roads not taken and the times that the world has opened itself up to my imagination.

For a long time at U.Va., I was obsessed with being good. Being good at whatever I put my hands on. Being good at keeping it together though I was constantly falling apart. It took me four long years to realize that I craved a community that allows me to know I do not have to be good. I don’t have to walk for miles on my knees to get people to like me, that the best and truest happiness I can find is in letting myself love what I love.

I remember crying outside of the law firm that I worked for because I was trying so hard to be good. I was so incredibly lonely and scared because I thought that if I wasn’t good, there was nothing out there for me. Then I thought of a poem that my friend shared with me in my first year. It was Mary Oliver’s “The Wild Geese.” Those words rang true to me for the first time.

From that moment, I decided to let myself love what I loved.

When I made that decision, the world opened itself up to me. I realized I didn’t have to be perfect to the people around me and they would still love me. I learned to love my water polo teammates. I became best friends with my roommate and she became the most important person to me. I allowed myself to fall in love with videography and to pursue that as a career. I decided to allow the child in me to rediscover my creativity, and that was the best thing that I could do for myself.

My class at U.Va. has seen enough despair and fear to last a lifetime. But U.Va., tell me your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile, the world goes on. We create, we innovate, we allow our world to open itself up to our imagination. It is calling us to be more than just good. If we let ourselves love ourselves, and we don’t blink, we will see how many times the world calls us into the family of things.



Keep an eye out for more senior sendoffs coming later this month!

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The Pioneer is the publication of HackCville. All of our producers are either current students or graduates of HackCville’s media education programs.

Our producers develop skills in modern media production through publishing stories about creative, civic, and entrepreneurial innovators in the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville community. Learn more →

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