See you later, alligator


 It was 7 p.m. in The Spectrum office last night. It was a typical Tuesday, with Jacklyn showing me how to click my heels in the air. I was making a complete fool of myself as Savanna took videos to document my progress, or lack thereof, and Tom and Brent sporadically cheered me on from their respective corners of the office. 

It’s stupid. It’s home. 

I came to The Spectrum in my senior year of college, having just transferred from UB’s Singapore program. I took a journalism ethics class with Jody Biehl, our program advisor. For anyone who doesn’t know her — you’re missing out. You don’t know how exciting the First Amendment is until she’s talked about it for a whole hour and you’re still not bored.  

I read a bunch of Spectrum articles over the summer, watched all the old embarrassing videos and I was so excited to finally be able to write.

The Spectrum has been the most rewarding, most taxing, most teaching part of my UB experience, and I cannot thank all of you enough. No more rolling of eyes every time I announce another Grease-esque meet-up, no more emergency heels and blazer in the bottom drawer, no more speeding down Maple to cheesy ‘80s love songs, no more hungover Sunday production days because I dragged everyone to Marcella’s the night before. 

I came to The Spectrum eager and inexperienced, as a kid who’d never seen temperatures below 30 degrees. I leave here, having covered (and experienced) my first snow storm, first wind storm, any and all campus protests and having interviewed a Secretary of State, the National Science Foundation director, distinguished authors and human rights lawyers.  

I started on features desk, with my senior editor Ben. I gave him like 30 story ideas in the span of 20 minutes — everything from covering German rap to intramural soccer. And he really made me believe every one of those stories was possible. 

Ben, you were the best senior editor I could’ve asked for. No matter how many times your rough edits left me in tears, or how many “heated” debates we’ve had, you never let me give up, and you’ve never given up on me. I have learned almost everything from you, and words will never be able to convey the gratitude I feel towards you. 

Working on features desk was the most exciting experience, and those skills have carried me well into my time as senior news editor. But I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without Jacklyn, the kindest, rudest, funniest, most shocking co-editor I could have ever asked for. Jacklyn you’re an amalgamation of contradictions, and I love you to death. The beginning of this semester was rough and I can only hope you’ve learned as much from me as I have from you. 

How many times have I walked into the office, positively fuming if you weren’t there to hear about my day? How many times have we co-written a 100-word news blurb? 

I never said this, but thank you for taking me to my first church — even if it was at a Vampire Weekend concert. 

Sam, you’re an absolute doll, thanks for buying me my first pretzel and thanks for showing me innovative ways to make money. Brian, I’m so glad I was able to help you express your cultural identity, and thank you for introducing me to George Lopez. Julianna, you fill every room with light and love, and I need you to know you have consistently made my day.

Tom, I don’t know how you manage to know something about everything, but conversations with you are always so ... enlightening. I’m so sorry you lost your job at Papa John’s. Isabella, thanks for taking me to the shadiest places ever and of course, all the fiscal advice. Sorry for filling up features’ budget with three-page profiles, guys.  

Shubh, thank you for teaching me how to hold a camera and please let me interview you when you’re a big-shot photographer. Davila, your aura of patience and kindness never fails to calm me. 

To my best pal Brent, I’ll miss all the late nights at the office with you yelling at me because I misspelled someone’s title. Thank you for letting me know everytime my angle is “tired.” You’ve always encouraged me to take risks and find cooler ways to tell stories. I’m so excited for what you have in store for next semester.

In my one year here I have found the friendship, love and growth I never thought I would find across three countries and two continents. 

The penguin of courage, the frog of change, the abandoned talking stick. Who knows what stays and what remains. We all say our piece and graduate, we take our stories off the wall, but the legacy of our stories will continue, our 68-year-old flame will continue to glow bright.

See you later, alligator(s). 

Tanveen Vohra is a co-senior news editor and can be reached at Tanveen.Vohra@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @TanveenUBSpec.

TANVEEN VOHRA


Tanveen Vohra is The Spectrum's co-senior news editor and covers international relations and graduate student protests.