Youngblood: Bidding farewell to my college home


Two years ago, when I walked into the Central Michigan Life office, I had no idea how much of an impact it would have on me today.

Coming to Central Michigan was a big step for me. It was my first step toward adulthood and being on my own. 

I wouldn’t have been able to make it without the support of my family, specifically my dad who graduated from CMU when I was 8, showing me that it is never too late to chase your dreams and sparking my interest in being a Chippewa. 

Throughout my years here, my dad has supported me more than I could ever imagine, not only by paying for my education but by moving me in and out of three apartments, coming to get me so I could come home for breaks, and coming to see me when I needed him most. 

While I wouldn’t be here without my dad, it is my mom who has been my biggest supporter and greatest inspiration. No one else in this world has made more of an impact on me than her, and I hope I have made her proud. 

Sports have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and the behind-the-scenes part I grew to love is all thanks to hockey and my older brother Jake. Through my love for athletics, I found sports writing and immediately knew that is what I wanted to do. 

When I found out about CMU’s journalism program, I knew it was a perfect fit. My advisor Brett Blythe suggested I apply to Central Michigan Life and as soon as we ended our meeting, I did. 

When I started covering the Division III men’s club hockey team, I never imagined it would lead me to cover wrestling, softball, volleyball and basketball. From a last-minute cover story to finding a love for feature stories; from devastating ends to seasons to countless games I will never forget; CM Life has taught me not only how to be a stronger reporter but a stronger person. 

I wouldn’t still be a part of CM Life if it weren’t for the amazing and talented people, I have been so fortunate to meet and work with. 

After a frustrating first year and a change in editors, Sean Chase gave me confidence I would have never given myself. He saw something in me that I didn’t even know I had. Even after I turned down being a men’s basketball beat reporter, he told me I was on it anyway and there was nothing I could do about it. Without his constant pushing, I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. 

Hunter Gudyka, Sydney Neal and Zipporah Abarca, while my time with you has been short, getting to know who you are as people, writers and leaders has truly been a gift. 

Hunter, the love and knowledge you have for sports is inspiring. Sydney, the passion I see in your writing is something I look to for guidance. Zipporah, the leader you have been is the perfect mix of seriousness and having fun. You have made me push my limits and try new things I wouldn’t have done on my own.  

From meeting over Zoom for the first time to now, Kaia Zimmerman has become someone I aspire to be. The dedication and hard work she puts into anything and everything she does is truly inspiring. She has taught me so much in the year I have known her, from how to correctly write a quote to being my true self, and I am fortunate enough to call her one of my best friends. 

Hadlee Peters, no words can describe how proud and lucky I have felt to see you achieve your dreams and grow into an amazing reporter. The countless laughs we have shared on the sidelines of volleyball and basketball games is something I will never forget. I am proud to call you my coworker but most importantly, my friend. 

Being away from home, no matter how long it’s been, is always a struggle. On the days I needed a mom, I turned to our fearless and inspiring advisor Regan Foster. While it is her job to be our advisor, she has become so much more. From crying in her office to countless laughs, I couldn’t ask for a better person to lead CM Life and teach me how to not only be a better writer but a better human. 

Lastly to the person I met on the day I got hired and has been there every step of the way, Ashley Birkeness. Ashley, you went from being a coworker, to my writer-in-crime and then to my boss, but the most important thing you’ve been is my best friend. I could go on and on about how much you mean to me, but this would never end -- so I’ll leave it at thanking you for being the person I have the upmost respect for, the person I look up to, the person who has been there for me through everything, and most importantly the person I call the other half of the dynamic duo. 

This organization has made my college experience the greatest it could have been. The CM Life office became a second home. I came there to laugh, to cry, to see people who would cheer me up, and most importantly to be myself.