The Nine

There's a street corner that sits 100 yards from my home in Henrietta, N.Y.

Every day, from my elementary years to my last day of high school, I walked or sprinted those 100 yards to catch my bus. Over the years, the street corner where Peakview Drive meets Marberth became more than an intersection as it became a part of my life.

It's where I met my best friends, where I had my first beer, where I would run with my friends after we egged a few houses. It was a place my friends and I would go to talk about our breakups and the fights we had with our families.

It earned a nickname over the years, "The Nine." We would tell each other to meet at the "Nine at Nine."

When I left to attend University at Buffalo in the fall of 2010, I felt like I left a part of me back home.

For my first year on campus, I felt lost. I had no direction. I was miserable, I was on autopilot, I just wanted to get my degree and get out and I didn't spend a lot of time getting involved in the UB community.

And then, in the spring semester of my junior year, I accidentally enrolled in ENG 394, taking it as an elective.

When the instructors asked students for their writing samples at the start of the class, I didn't have one. Advisers had accidentally left the class open and I had snuck in.

Thankfully, I was given a chance and was able to stay on the staff. Here I am, two and a half years later, with more experience than I could have ever imagined.

I've been an editor for every desk except photo, though I've taken about 15 photos for the paper in my career.

Through all the hard work and articles I've written, the friends I've made in The Spectrum office in 132 Student Union, I've been brought back to "The Nine."

Jody Biehl, it's because of you that I've become a well-rounded writer and a much better features writer than I once was. You have helped bring this paper to a whole new level. I know I haven't been easy to work with over the years, but you never gave up on anyone or myself.

Matthew Parrino, I've never had a brother, but I look up to you and your work ethic as if you were a part of my family. I can't thank you enough for letting me stick around and grow as a writer and a person.

Aaron Mansfield, I know the first time we met, I was someone you probably didn't want to associate yourself with because I was loud and obnoxious, but you believed in me and promoted me multiple times to many positions here at the paper. I was the recipient of mad buckets because of this. Love you, man.

Lisa Khoury and Sara DiNatale, you both are some of the most inspirational women I've ever met. You have both put up with more of my antics and problems than both my sisters have my whole life. It's because of you that I will leave here a better person than I was when I started.

Ben Tarhan, when I first met you, man, I saw you as competition, but after working with you for the past couple of years, you've become someone that makes me have more of an open mind when it comes to sports and life in general. I have so much respect for your work ethic and ability to take on two majors at once. You're going on to great things, man. By the way, the Mets suck.

Brian Keschinger, you're the most passionate person I've ever met, no matter what anyone is talking about. I'll never forget you.

Owen O'Brien, where do I start? You are an inspiration to me and everyone in this office. You've taken your passion for journalism to a whole new level and I know I'm going to be reading about you someday as an award-winning features writer.

Sam Fernando, my blues brother, my partner in crime. Nobody rocks harder than you on the guitar and you're an amazing journalist. You've made me a better person.

Aline Kobayashi, you have made sitting in the corner of The Spectrum office fun and our fake fights made the year go by faster.

My arts homies - Megan Weal and Jordan Oscar - you guys made this semester so easy for me. I love you both. Peace out, Grouch and Union Jack.

Lastly, I want to thank Helene Polley for being my mother away from my mother. Thank you for all that you do.

I'm returning to "The Nine" this weekend with all my memories over the past five years. And although a camera has not documented these memories and people, those moments and friends will always be close to my heart.