I remember in fourth grade, we had to write a creative story using the week’s spelling words as an assignment. I wrote a story about an astronaut named Ned who had recently returned from a mission to Mars, and how everyone was utterly enamored with him and wanted to follow him around. After reading my story, my teacher approached me and expressed her admiration for the story and how it made her laugh. I received an A+ on the assignment and I showed my parents my story, and they also were very impressed and proud of my work. “You have a true gift. I can’t wait to read more of your work,” my mom said while smiling and looking me in the eyes. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, but I could never have imagined I would be pursuing it as a career ten years later.
I recall there being just a few weeks till the start of the school year. Professor Jeanne Criswell sent me an email inviting me to join the newspaper staff. I was a three-year member of my high school’s newspaper, so I figured ‘Why not?’ I emailed Jeanne right away with a list of questions. Through email, I could sense Jeanne’s warm and welcoming soul. I changed my schedule at the last minute to add COMM 120: Applied Journalism.
From my first day at The Reflector, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. The staff and Jeanne greeted everyone with open arms, and it was beautiful to see their enthusiasm for journalism. My mentor, and the current Editor-in-Chief Jacob Walton encouraged me to apply for the open position of distribution manager. As a result, I was able to hold the positions of distribution manager and sports editor.
Being a part of The Reflector, I discovered the true beauty of journalism. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and having the chance to shine a light on those who may not have the opportunity to do so is an honor. I enjoy the interviewing process because it allows me to meet and interact with so many interesting people from all backgrounds.
As cliché as it sounds, it is crazy to believe my chapter is ending at The Reflector. I have been blessed to have worked with an amazing, odd, beautiful staff. They constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone as a writer and editor, which is something I will be forever grateful for. And they believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I appreciate the support, encouragement and patience they have given me. I’ve made friends here who will last a lifetime and I’ve made memories that I will forever cherish.
To the new staff for the upcoming school year, never stop being you. Keep continuing to be the wonderful, original individuals you are. It’s been a joy to see you all develop in so many ways both inside and outside of The Reflector.
As Jeanne always says, “Keep up the amazing work you die-hard journalists.”