All good things must come to an end
Goodbye to my home away from home
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Jody, I know, you hate clichés, but let me have this one.
Coming into my last semester, I was ready for it all to be over. Three classes stood in the way of me and my diploma. I knew I already got into my dream master’s program at Syracuse University and only had to make it through 16 more weeks of undergrad.
I figured I’d spend the least amount of time working on those classes as possible and focus what little effort I had left into The Spectrum.
But as the semester started to pick up, I found myself counting down the days until I didn’t have to wake up early on Sunday mornings and miss watching the Bills game in order to crank out the day’s article.
I was finally senior news editor, but running the desk alone placed a lot of stress and expectations on my shoulders. I was getting burnt out.
Sometime after midterms, I got a message from the senior editor I wrote for during freshman year. He asked how things were going and I explained to him my excitement to graduate and finally get a break from the paper.
He stopped me in my tracks and called me an “idiot.”
He said if he could travel back in time and sit through one more Monday meeting or one more production day and write one more story, he would in a heartbeat.
I brushed it off and continued pressing my nose to the grindstone. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But here I am, on the night before my last production day bawling my eyes out as I type this, realizing that I don’t want it to all be over.
Suddenly it all came back to me: memories of our office Super Smash Bros tournaments, getting into meme wars in our Snapchat group chat, late night editing sessions and all of the other shenanigans I got into with my colleagues over the last three years.
Sure, there were bumps in the road, and at times, The Spectrum was the last place I wanted to be. But seeing an article published after editing it all night and the impact some of them had on the university is priceless.
The Spectrum is my family. It was my entire college experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Through writing for the paper, I got to travel the country, interview prominent figures, photograph concerts and tell the stories of UB students who didn’t have a voice. I’ve met some of my closest friends at the paper, took some of the scariest risks at the paper and learned more than any other class or professor could have ever taught me.
I realized that I wasn’t coming to school every day to go to class or work. I was going to school and doing all that in the background, so that I could be a part of the newspaper.
The Spectrum completely changed me as a person. It transformed me from the quiet, disassociated commuter student looking for his place in the UB community as a freshman into the confident, risk-taking person I am today.
Before joining the paper, I had self-confidence issues and would much rather would have jumped off a bridge than approached a total stranger in the Student Union and ask them questions for a story.
A goodbye column wouldn’t be complete without thanking the people who shaped me into the journalist I am today.
First and foremost, I have to thank the paper’s faculty adviser Jody Biehl. From the late nights editing pieces to romping the streets of Berlin, I am forever in your debt.
You taught me how to be fierce, how to ask all the right questions, how to stand up for myself and most importantly, how to be a journalist. Before joining The Spectrum, I’d never written an article or interviewed someone, let alone taught others how to do those things. But somehow, without me even noticing sometimes, you taught me everything I know about journalism.
One day, I hope I can come close to the journalist that you are. When I write articles for other outlets, somehow I find myself thinking, “What would Jody think of this?” Is that a nightmare or a blessing? I don’t know, but I sure am glad you’ve ingrained your ways into my brain.
Brian Windschitl and Ken Thomas, my arts editors freshman year, I love you two more than you may realize. Thanks for taking me under your wings and showing me the ropes. You guys started my career at the paper and ended up being two of my best friends. From crazy nights in New York City to nail-biting games of Smash and tag-teaming concert coverage, I’m grateful to have worked with two of the best.
Tori Roseman and Gabriela Julia, nothing made me look forward to production day more than knowing I could hunker down in either of your offices and talk about literally anything. The two of you inspire me every day. Whenever I’d come into your offices to edit a story together, I was amazed at how much you could teach me.
Brian, Brent, Ben, Tom –– you guys are some of my best friends. Whether it’s bickering at each other in a “Curb Your Enthusiasm”-esque manner, jamming out to tunes or talking about the next “runaround,” I think I’m going to miss you guys the most.
What’s a Sunday going to be without the Blanchet brothers and their unique thrift fits, Tom making fun of my passion for Buffalo sports and Brian screaming “FRESH POTS?”
Jacklyn, you have totally surprised me this semester. Very rarely would I feel comfortable passing on the senior news editor torch to someone who became an editor just a few weeks ago, but you’re going to rock it, kid.
From our sassy Sunday morning conversations to teaching me what “stan” meant, I had a lot of fun working with you and have complete faith that you’ll bring a lot of good to the paper.
To everyone else who will return next semester and all the new faces who will walk into the newsroom as I did a few years ago, thank you. Thank you for continuing this awesome tradition that I was blessed to be a part of.
When I entered UB as a pre-dental student, if you would have told me I’d drop everything to become a journalism major at a school where there isn’t even a journalism major, I would have said you were crazy.
But here I am, in my final moments as a UB student, happy that things played out the way they did.
Cheers to three successful years at The Spectrum, and here’s to many more.