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My last college move

A goodbye to The Spectrum

queenemma

For me, college has been four years of trial and error and a whole lot of self-discovery.

I started out at SUNY Binghamton, feeling a million miles away from myself.

A year at SUNY Geneseo shrunk my world down to just a few academic buildings and empty walks through the New England campus after dark, dim lights just barely skimming the sidewalks.

And then I made the big move back home to Buffalo.

I spent a year going to classes and heading home afterwards. I worked a lot, moved out of my parents’ house and felt generally despondent about the whole school thing.

So, I figured it was probably time to find “my thing” – you know, get involved, make friends, blah blah. At the beginning of the spring semester of my junior year I got a mass email: The Spectrum was hiring.

And so, for my first thank you: Aaron Mansfield, thank you for taking a chance and hiring me as assistant features editor when I had very few qualifications. I can’t thank you enough for bringing me onto this team, and your brilliant leadership skills (and impeccable style) are something I can only hope to approximate.

Although I was far more reserved in the office, to everyone on the spring of 2014 staff – my first Spectrum family – you motivated me to stick with it. Every one of you had such admirable talent and passion. Thank you for showing me the way.

The past three semesters working for The Spectrum have been eye-opening and intensely challenging, but they’ve also been a labor of love.

Most of us at The Spectrum work for free. For the very small number of us who get paid, our time sheets read 40 hours per week – definitely an underestimate – and we make well below minimum wage. We’re one of the hardest working groups at UB, but we don’t get a single thing from the university. We’re ragtag misfits in the world of college journalism, but we produce some of the best work in the country. We’ve competed nationally and have won against impressive journalism schools. We may not have much, but we do a darn good job.

I’m immensely proud of the work I’ve produced here. I investigated professors selling their own textbooks to students; I interviewed a Harvard professor about his new book; I tried to open the campus’ eyes to the city I love; I’ve written columns on everything from abortion to the UB English department to not wearing bras; and I’ve learned to see a story everywhere.

I couldn’t have done any of that without the support from everyone who’s worked tirelessly in our windowless, gray office. (Really guys, decorate the office next year.)

Sara DiNatale, even though we washed each other’s backs in Berlin, I still respect you. But really, your passion, ambition and sheer talent is inspiring. I absolutely cannot wait to see what you do at The Boston Globe this summer (not bad for a public school girl, eh?) and at whatever other newspaper is smart enough to hire you. You’re going to kick butt in your cute glasses and the world had better watch out.

Rachel Kramer, you’re one whirlwind of a lady! Your eye for details and seeing exactly what a story needs still boggles me. I know that no matter what, you’re going to take on social media by storm, getting likes wherever you go.

And the award for hardest working person on the planet goes to Alyssa McClure. I bow down to your ability to flawlessly tackle exams, endless papers, crazy professors, having two jobs and working such long hours at The Spectrum. You’re the Queen of Stamina and Moxie and I am definitely not worthy.

I am going to miss the subtle but brilliant sarcasm and humor of Tom Dinki, next year’s fearless leader. I know you’re going to do great work with the paper, just always keep my persistent feminist voice nagging at you.

Jenna Bower and Kenny Cruz, you amaze me with how you make our words look so pretty and attractive. Your infographics are just so styling and that typography – be still my heart! Your office antics during those late nights always perked me up. Keep it so real.

Remember when we got mouth-watering Turkish food, drank beers in a dim café set to a bad ’80s soundtrack and then fell asleep on the bus? Brian Windschitl, you may drive me absolutely nutty with your sentence structures and insistence on creating synonyms that make no sense, but you’ve become one of my dearest friends. I already miss smoking more cigarettes than I’d like to admit on the streets of Berlin with you and using a random stoop as a confessional, so we’re just going to have to keep meeting up for our Indian-food-and-life-talks tradition. And as always, chill out; you’re going to do fine.

Tori Roseman and Gabriela Julia – I’ve truly enjoyed watching both of you grow into leaders on this paper. I’m so excited to see how far you progress. And interviewing Anthony Raneri of Bayside with Tori is downright one of my all-time favorite Spectrum moments.

As for The Spectrum’s subtlest comedian, Yusong Shi, I am going to miss your understated, witty banter and overall excitement about everything. You’re just such a gem.

The Spectrum wouldn’t exist without the hard work of Helene Polley and the ad staff. You guys make our work possible. Thank you for being so dedicated. We really couldn’t do it without you.

To the rest of the staff – remember to strive for that moment when a story takes over and you can’t let it rest. I hope you all find your own passion and path with The Spectrum – make this place your home.

And finally, to Jody Kleinberg Biehl, the incredible woman behind the scenes, supporting, challenging and pushing us further than we ever thought possible – I don’t have enough thanks to do you justice. I’m going to always treasure learning about Berlin and journalism through your eyes.

I may not have lived a typical college lifestyle but The Spectrum has been my rock here at UB. The passion I developed and the talents I’ve seen emerge and grow in our office will be dear in my heart as I move on.

Everyone, it has been so real and so good to work with all of you. As much as I’ve learned about writing these past few semesters, the English language is inadequate to express how deeply thankful I am to have had this opportunity.

Future staff: stick to your guns, don’t pull your punches, and take no prisoners.

But most importantly, live long and prosper!

Emma Janicki is the assistant managing editor and can be reached at emma.janicki@ubspectrum.com


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