Letter from the editor: Find your niche at UB

Hey, UB freshman.

See those nice couches littered around the Student Union? I spent a lot of my first two years of college sitting on them.

As a Buffalo native commuting from my parents’ house, my time on campus consisted of going to class and then straight home. That was it. In between, I’d walk around the Union trying to find one of those couches to sit on – only it had to be one that was in a quiet space with an outlet close by so I could sit alone undisturbed with my laptop.

I can now say I haven’t sat alone on one of those couches in a year – and I don’t plan on doing so during my senior year.

Why would I when my second home sits right downstairs on the ground floor of the Union? I’m talking about 132 Student Union. I’m talking about The Spectrum office.

I’d much rather sit at my desk surrounded by the amazing people I’ve met in the place where I work, socialize, eat and yes, even sleep sometimes, than out alone in the Union.

This paper has become my entire life over the past year. More important than friends, going out, sleep and even academics. Most people’s craziest college memories at UB happen in a dorm room in Ellicott or some basement in the Heights. Mine have come in that office at 5 a.m. putting together the paper you see on the stands every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Now I can’t imagine sitting alone on campus. My phone would buzz with someone wondering why I wasn’t in the office. At the very least, a friend, coworker or someone I’ve interviewed in the past is bound to walk past and start up a conversation.

But The Spectrum is my college ‘thing.’ My niche.

What will yours be?

The key is to find what you’re passionate about and own it. Isn’t that what college is about? It’s a time to try everything and find what gives you satisfaction, lets you meet great people and allows you to go home every night excited to start the next day. In this paper alone you’ll find a student chasing his dream of becoming a producer, a graduated football player now in the NFL and students who found themselves while studying abroad.

Once you find that thing you love – trust me – the craziness and scariness of everything just kind of goes away.

Even though I joined the paper as a staff writer my second semester freshman year, it wasn’t really until the start of my junior year that I really put all I had into it. I had problems talking to people and putting myself out there. I figured I was just a commuter student – I wouldn’t get the ‘college experience.’

But I found my ‘thing,’ and it changed me. Sometimes I feel like I wasted my first two years of college – and I’m making up for that now.

So don’t be like me and wait. Look for your place at UB starting right now.

Walk around the club tables, find one that’s interesting to you and join it. Like politics? Get involved in the Student Association. Pledge a fraternity or sorority if that’s what you’re into. Play a club sport like rugby or even Quidditch. I’m far from UB Athletics’ biggest cheerleader, but heck, go to a football game (the tailgate is the best part). Interested in journalism? Send me an email or better yet, walk into our office.

Don’t be afraid to go up to someone and start a conversation. Don’t be afraid to join something on a whim.

Find your niche on campus. Find your Spectrum.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Tom Dinki is the editor in chief and can be reached at tom.dinki@ubspectrum.com