It’s been four years since I saw our former Editor in Chief distributing papers to my dorm on welcome weekend. Last week, I helped do distribution, and it felt as though my journey had come full circle.
It had been over a year since I stepped foot in some of the campus buildings, but I still knew my way around like the back of my hand. It’s funny, thinking back to freshman year when I walked around campus with a few friends to scope out campus buildings and find where our classes would be.
But a lot more has changed than my knowledge of campus locations.
When I started out in journalism, I didn’t know what I wanted to do; the only thing I knew for sure was that I was never stepping in front of a camera. I went from a news reporter my freshman year to news editor my sophomore year and learned the basics of journalism, and, more importantly, I learned the value of student journalism.
The position we have as student journalists is so unique. We have such a vital role in our university communities and as the future of the industry, we get to push the bounds of tradition and discuss how to improve what we already know.
I love student journalism and the perspective we provide, and 241 articles later, I am hanging up my student journalist hat.
My time at Ferris ends how I thought it always would, as Editor in Chief, though for a time I avoided it. After my freshman year, I applied for Editor in Chief, being the overly ambitious rookie that I was. I wasn’t given the position, which was all for the better, and got to cover a lot of breaking news as news editor, and eventually moved to sports, where I found my true passion.
After my sophomore year, everyone expected me to step into the role of Editor in Chief, and many told me so. With every mention of it, I wanted the position less. After having an editorial role and seeing firsthand what running the show looked like, I wasn’t sure I wanted it. Would I ever get to write? And I had just found what I felt like was my calling in sports, how could I possibly give that up?
I had been talking about taking a semester to study abroad with my advisor that year, and for many reasons elected to do that the spring of my junior year. That semester fit the best with my academic schedule, and I didn’t want to be abroad for half of my senior year. But one of those reasons was also because the Editor in Chief had to commit to being in the position for the entire school year, and my departure in January of 2020 eliminated me from the running.
Also, yes, you read that right. I moved to the Netherlands in January of 2020. But that’s a story for another time.
I couldn’t really articulate why I felt like I couldn’t go for the job that year. I think it was mainly because everyone expected me to and the pressure I already felt was enough to crush my 20-year-old self. I hadn’t even applied yet and it terrified me.
So, I “ran away” as I say now, which is something that doesn’t feel great to say. But I had been planning to study abroad and it was something I had always wanted. I think calling it running away has been a subconscious way of punishing myself for taking so long to step into a job that I felt like I was meant to do all along.
Summer of 2020 I was in the Netherlands and heard the position of Editor in Chief was up for grabs in the fall. There was a voice in my head saying, “This is your chance, don’t run away, again.” But there was also part of me that knew if I was going to do this, it was going to be my entire senior year. My life would revolve around this paper and our goals.
Looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
After a long talk with a good friend, I decided to go for it. I emailed our advisor on June 11, 2020 and said “I am emailing you before I change my mind. I am interested in the EIC position for next year if you are looking for someone. This is only a 90% commitment and is not binding but also, I will probably regret it the rest of my life if I don’t try.”
The more I thought about it, the more I questioned: which would I regret more? Failing, or never even trying? I wouldn’t be the journalist or person I was today if I hadn’t given this a shot, if I had let my fear of failure win.
I can still feel the panic I felt when I sent that email. I was feeling all the same fears that I did a year before. In addition to those, new pressures were unlocked with the pandemic, 2020 Presidential Election looming and a racial reckoning across the country last summer. These were all huge topics I knew we would have to navigate, but I knew that this time, I was ready.
I have no regrets, and it has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve our campus community the past four years. Thank you to the Ferris community for supporting us, reading our paper and trusting us to do important work in informing our students, faculty and staff.
We accomplished more than I ever imagined when we started the school year, and I am incredibly proud of our staff. This paper doesn’t get published every week without each and every one of you, and I am so grateful for your dedication to the Torch.
I hope that student journalism is always supported in this community, and that we never forget the important role our student journalists have. We have been invaluable to illuminating the truth for the past ninety years here, and I hope to see that work continue for years to come.