Facing graduation, dreams in reach

In just a few weeks I will say goodbye to my second home for the past four years. The time passed between being an unknowing freshman to a seasoned senior was filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I’ve met some amazing people along the way, both students and professors, who’ve helped shape the person I’ve become today.

My goal coming into college was never to make friends but instead to focus on getting my diploma as fast as possible and getting into the “real world.” Still, I’m glad that I took the time to appreciate the people who shared this fine university with me because these four years wouldn’t have been as special without them; my college experience would have been miserable. They transformed me from someone who was shy and secluded to someone who was outgoing and confident. They all have a special place in my heart and I will never forget them.

However, as is the case in college, not everyone I’ve called a friend at some point or another still holds that label as graduation approaches. I have had friendships fail as I have progressed through college. People change, and sometimes you see their true character during times of adversity. As hard as it can be to throw a former friend to the curb, sometimes it’s necessary, especially if they are causing you more harm than good. It will pay off in the future. Some friendships wither away like an unnurtured plant. That’s just life.

After taking some time to reflect on my four years at Oswego State, I consider myself fortunate for all of the experiences. Being part of The Oswegonian was by far the most rewarding. The experience I garnered from my four years of writing taught me skills that no journalism class could ever teach. I never understood why some journalism majors failed to seize the opportunity to write for the campus newspaper; it’s free experience and you aren’t going to get it anywhere else. The biggest lesson I learned working at The Oswegonian is that everyone starts at the bottom, but through hard work and perseverance, you can work your way to the top. I started as a contributing writer as a freshman and worked my way all the way up to the Managing Editor as a senior, with stops as the Assistant Sports Editor and Sports Editor along the way. Sure, I sacrificed a great deal of my social life to be part of The Oswegonian’s editorial board, but the newspaper was where I met the bulk of my friends. I’d rather spend 10 straight hours in The Oswegonain office on a Wednesday night than drinking myself into oblivion at “Yard Night” at The Shed.

Since about ninth grade I have known that I wanted to be a sports journalist when I grew up and I still have the same aspirations as I get set to graduate. Covering sports for The Oswegonian has showed me just how great college sports are, from the talent of the student-athletes to the personability of the coaching staffs. I feel honored to have interviewed some of the student-athletes and coaches that I have gotten the opportunity to see play over the years, and that is an experience that not too many people at Oswego State can relate to. I’ve interviewed a current member of the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League, Eric Selleck, who played two years for the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team from 2008-10. I’ve interviewed women’s soccer standouts Michele Bateman and Nikki Liadka. I’ve interviewed Major League Soccer’s Chief Marketing Officer, J. Russell Findlay, who is an Oswego State alumnus. I also had arguably the greatest job for an Oswego State sports journalist during the last three years, as I served as the Oswego State men’s ice hockey team’s beat writer. It was a joy going to the Campus Center Ice Arena each weekend to cover hockey games, especially with the success of the program, reaching three consecutive Frozen Fours and being the NCAA National Runners-up this past season.

While I don’t consider being a journalist difficult, I do consider the feedback one has to endure to be a journalist difficult. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that most people hate journalists with a passion because they are viewed as people who exploit people’s personal lives (thanks a lot, TMZ). I’ve gotten used to the idea that when a reader enjoys my article that they will not say anything, but when I write something they don’t agree with, they will make it their mission to take personal jabs at me despite knowing nothing about me.

The job of a journalist is to report the news. If you don’t like it, too bad. We’re not going anywhere. I know full-well that my degree in journalism comes with the promise that I will never make another friend that is not a journalist as well. I can deal with that because nobody understands the life of a journalist outside of the profession. I’ve never really cared what people thought of me. That’s the mindset a journalist needs to have. While I know that I will never write for The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, I do know that I will be writing for some publication. And while I do not expect to change the world through my writing, I do know that the pen is mightier than the sword.