My first memory at Youngstown State University was sitting alone in DeBartolo Hall. I was greeted by Mary Beth Earnheardt, who was eager to discuss my plans at the university. I was unsure at the time, only certain that a field in writing would be my forte. She gave me a tour of The Jambar, welcoming me into the journalism program if it was something I wanted to pursue.
Still, I did not take her up the offer right away. I went through my first year of college without much motivation, only attending classes with a group of people I did not know and driving home as soon as my classes ended.
It wasn’t until my second year when I began taking journalism classes. I started to feel more connected to campus. I knew faces and the world at YSU seemed to expand tenfold. Four years later, here I am as the managing editor of The Jambar and co-editor of The YO Magazine, counting down the days until May 5.
Of course, nothing is perfect. We have seen students, faculty and staff face injustices and struggles. We have played the game of “What road or building is under construction this semester?” and slid across the sidewalks in the winter like we were short track speed skating in the Winter Olympics. I would have done anything for some decent chow mein every once in a while.
I reported someone losing their life on campus. I remember the silence that surrounded the crowd who gathered there. It was somber.
One of the perks about being a journalist is the opportunity to see not only the worst of the worst, but also the best of the best. It is the people who build a university up. It is the people who accomplish great things while in college and after. This job has given me the opportunity to tell a small portion of these stories. Through all of the people I have spoken to and all of the things that I have seen, I know the dedication that both students and faculty give to support one another and the Youngstown community.
If working at The Jambar has taught me anything, it is that the campus community fuels this place. Even if it was for just a short two years, it has been a privilege to tell a handful of your stories.
To my staff:
The hardest part about writing this is to say something motivational or meaningful that you don’t already know. It seems unnecessary to wish you good luck in the upcoming fall because I expect nothing less than what I have already seen. You are a passionate, dedicated and eager group and it has been in honor to be a part of you these past two years.
Times won’t always be easy. There will be times that you will feel overwhelmed by all of the obligations in your life, whether they be professional or personal. You will want to stop everything and give up. You will even want to punch a hole through the wall (they are thin, so it wouldn’t take much effort). We all know this. We have been through it before.
I know that I have been in the same boat, and there were times when I have completely shut down. It isn’t writing that brings me back. It isn’t the drive for my degree (maybe the drive to rub it in your faces, but that is a different story). It is the people who motivate me and inspire me to keep producing the best work that I can. When my grandma passed away last year, I fell into one of these slumps. What was it that pulled me out? The Jambar staff’s support for one another. I look up to you all for how understanding and helpful you have been and will strive to carry everything that has helped me grow, not only as a writer but as a person, into the next chapter of my life.
Thank you for making this experience more than a job. If you ever need any help or guidance, you know where to look, but I doubt that you will need it. I think you’ve taught me more than I’ve taught you. Keep kicking ass like you always do.