During my sophomore year of college at Oswego State, it seemed like anything that could go wrong would. I was left questioning myself about college: “Do I want to stay at Oswego?” and “Was journalism the right choice for a major?”
After a summer to think it over and dropping the dead weight that was holding me back, I went into junior year looking to do something different. That opportunity presented itself in early October 2011. The Oswegonian posted an advertisement on its Facebook page looking for an assistant arts and entertainment editor. I had mostly just written sports articles for the paper and only one article for the Laker Review section at that time. Due to that and the fact that I hadn’t written much for the paper sophomore year, I never really expected I would get the position.
But despite those facts, I had a gut feeling that it was something I should do, so I sent in my application and let the dominos fall where they may. Within a couple of days, I had my interview and then within a couple of hours of that, I got the call asking when I could start. Little did I know how much accepting that position would change my life.
Contrary to what some people may believe, everybody in the office was more than welcoming. The office felt like a new home, and that simile became truer than I would have ever imagined at the start. I remember there were times during my freshman and sophomore years when I wouldn’t write for the paper because I thought I was “too busy.” Even as an assistant, I was in the office Tuesday through Friday and that time increased with each new position I took. Looking back now at those early years, I laugh at how busy I thought I was. There are so many more articles I could have written.
I was only the assistant A&E editor for about a month when the A&E editor at the time announced he was moving to another position, allowing me to be promoted to A&E editor. It was a position where I learned a lot and became a bigger part of The Oswegonian. I was able to work with the writers, display my creative talents by designing the Laker Review each week and became closer friends with many staff members. The last of the three was the best thing that has come out of joining the organization, and something I am glad was able to happen again after many staff members graduated by the end of my junior year and about 13 new people were hired. It is one of the best parts about The Oswegonian and I see no reason why those friendships should not continue even after I graduate.
Going into my senior year, I took on the position of managing editor, where I pretty much got to do everything I wanted: help staff members, help writers, write more articles for all sections, take photos and create graphics. Along with being managing editor, I got a bonus responsibility of taking over executive editor duties for the sports magazine, The Play Maker, a responsibility that has made the office my home away from home, but a position I am happy to have. I would not have it any other way. Not only has the magazine allowed me to still be in charge of a section and gain a lot of experience creating one, but it has also allowed me to pay homage to the founder of the magazine and someone I consider a mentor, former editor-in-chief of The Oswegonian, Chris Ballard.
When I was a freshman first writing for the paper, I came into Oswego State with no prior experience in journalism. So walking into my first general interest meeting for The Oswegonian was intimidating. When I finally got up enough courage to take my first story, Ballard, who was the sports editor at the time, was welcoming and helped me to become a better writer with each story. He was always encouraging me to keep writing. I give him credit for pulling me into writing for the paper. He was the reason why I kept writing.
As my senior year comes to a close, I hope I have left that same effect on The Oswegonian. Being able to help and lead people was the main reason I wanted the managing editor position and I would like to think that through all of the hard work and commitment I put into the paper, I am able to leave some kind of impact, no matter what the size. It is impossible to talk about my time at Oswego State without mentioning The Oswegonian, since I spent about 80 percent of my time in the office. It is sad knowing this issue is my final time working on the paper, but I have gained many great memories and many new friends that I will never forget.
The paper has allowed me to produce many articles I am proud of and a resume I would have never imagined I could have had. I have also been a part of one of the biggest stories to hit the campus and be the only person to interview the Oswego State president about it, I got to interview the guitarist for one of my favorite bands, I got to write about Oswego Speedway for the paper, something I wanted to do since freshman year and I got to be on the ice with the men’s ice hockey team taking pictures as they celebrated their 2013 SUNYAC championship. I am excited for my future and I have The Oswegonian and everybody who was a part of it to thank for that.
So to answer my previous questions: Am I glad I stayed at Oswego? Yes. Was journalism the right choice for a major? Hell yeah.
-Published in The Oswegonian