COLUMN: The end of an experience I will always cherish
Outgoing Central Michigan Life editor-in-chief reflects on his time in the student newsroom
Anybody who knows me well is painfully aware of how sentimental I can be. My inherent emotionality and resistance to change have teamed up and dominated my subconscious these days: my last on the fourth floor of Moore Hall and in the newsroom of Central Michigan Life.
One of the first significant pieces of writing I ever did for CM Life was a story about a CMU women’s soccer player who was killed in a car accident and an ensuing season dedicated to a young life cut short. That was a tough way to get introduced to the job I held for the next three years.
Yet, this column, my last to appear in CM Life, is the most difficult piece I’ve ever been asked to write. Not because of what this entry is about, but what it symbolizes.
For me, this is the end. But for the next-generation CM Life reporter or editor, this is an exciting beginning. That student, beaming with enthusiasm and potential, is what gives me peace at such an anxious time.
I’m told every graduating senior is poured the same beverage in the weeks leading to commencement. It’s an intoxicating cocktail of sadness, excitement, uncertainty and pride.
Once it’s time for that rising CM Life rookie journalist to graduate, he’ll find himself sipping from the same drink. Hopefully his will be as strong as mine was.
The grind of his academics and duties at the student media company will keep him sober over the next few semesters, and make it tough to appreciate each moment on this campus and in our newsroom. If he’s smart, he’ll accept every assignment, spend as much time with his coworkers as they all can stand and wear the stress that comes with job as a badge of honor.
One day, he’ll realize these were the best years of his life.
When that day comes, he’ll be ready to be done with the grind of college life, just as I am. But just before graduation, the memories he made along the way will flash in his mind’s eye relentlessly.
He’ll think about his first byline, the life-long friendships he forged, the girls who broke his heart and the last print-edition page he ever sent to press. If he’s as lucky as I am, he’ll never forget the surprise party his newsroom buddies threw him at the end of his last week of college.
In what seems like no time, the lessons he learned not just in journalism, but in life will flood his mind and move him to tears.
Though he’d never admit it, he’d give anything for just one more class. One more story assignment. One more round at The Bird Bar and Grill with the people he’d do anything for.
So, to the first-year reporter or editor who can’t wait to get started at CM Life next semester, I submit one lasting request.
Please always keep this in mind, no matter what happens during your time here.
You have been given a gift greater than you can possibly imagine. Do everything you can to take care of CM Life, not just for the benefit of your career, but for me and the thousands of Lifers who came before us.
Trust your advisers, tell the stories of as many people as you can and strive to get better as a person and a professional every single day. If you put the work in, this place can reward you in ways you never knew existed.
CM Life was the most important part of my life for the last three years.
Now, the thing that means the most to me is yours.
And before I go, I just thought I should let you know how lucky you are.