I’m not your typical journalist.
In fact, I don’t consider myself to be a journalist at all. I only joined The Spectrum to make friends.
It was the beginning of the spring semester of my senior year, and I wasn’t in the best place mentally. Like many college students, I was struggling with loneliness and looking for anything to make that feeling go away.
I was hesitant about joining the Spectrum staff. As an electrical engineering major, I didn’t think I was qualified to hold any position in a newsroom. Writing and editing felt so foreign to me — I could probably count on one hand the number of essays I had written since high school. I felt like I didn’t belong there.
But I was tired of doubting myself, and I knew I had to get over my anxieties and step out of my comfort zone if I wanted to overcome that loneliness. With some convincing from my best friend at UB and then-Spectrum managing editor Justin Weiss, I joined the staff as a web and copy editor.
I never thought that less than a year later, I’d be helping run the entire newsroom.
I grew to love The Spectrum during my time as a copy and web editor. I looked forward to the rush of the newspaper’s production days every week, and it felt amazing to contribute toward such a great cause for the UB community. I met so many incredible people on staff as well.
I’ve always had a passion for leading. Given my usual reserved and quiet personality, that may seem surprising. But I love helping people, and if you give me the right mission, I will do anything and everything I can to not only see it through to its success, but continuously look for ways to improve its success.
It’s difficult for me to think of a more worthy on-campus mission than The Spectrum’s. We keep the UB community informed with accurate, uncensored news, while giving students, faculty and staff a platform to voice their concerns and make their voices heard.
When I returned to UB to complete my master’s degree in electrical engineering last fall, editor-in-chief Anthony DeCicco asked me to be the assistant managing editor. I couldn’t say no. I had no idea what my new role would entail, but I knew I wanted to contribute more, so I found ways to help wherever I could and learned as much as I could along the way.
I learned how to lay out the newspaper every week and how to improve our presence on social media. I learned what a lede and nut graf are, and the difference between a feature and news story.
Through practice, I learned how to edit, which helped improve my own writing. I’d even consider myself a good editor now.
I learned that I’m so much more capable than I could have ever imagined. Never doubt what you’re able to accomplish. With the right mindset and a passion for what you’re doing, you can achieve so much more than you ever thought possible.
But there is one lesson I’ve learned thanks to The Spectrum that stands above all the rest, which is to be proud of myself. That doesn’t typically come easy to me. It’s hard to focus on our successes over what we consider to be our failures. The joy of getting a good grade on an assignment is temporary, but the pain of getting a bad one seems to stick around for longer.
Working on the Spectrum staff is challenging; anyone who has ever done so can tell you that. It’s a week after week grind, with the hours of a part-time (and sometimes full-time) job, on top of being a full-time student.
Running a collegiate newsroom is mentally and physically exhausting, but it’s always been worth it for me. When I see students reading the latest issue of our newspaper around campus, I can’t help but feel pride toward myself, and everyone on staff who made that happen.
I’m proud of myself for helping put together a professional-grade newspaper every week — sacrificing close to 40 hours of editing articles and putting the paper together — while also maintaining good grades in an electrical engineering master’s program. Even when things didn’t go exactly as planned, we still put out a paper every week, and we kept the campus community informed. I’m proud of myself for that.
I urge everyone to take a moment to admire everything you’ve done and everything you’ve overcome. Try not to be so hard on yourself. It’s not easy, but if you can do that, you’ll start to see just how much you’ve accomplished and how impressive those accomplishments truly are.
To all of my fellow Spectrum editors: I hope you are proud of all the amazing work you’ve done. I know I am, and I am forever grateful to have worked with such a talented and kind group of people. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and for giving me a home at UB when I needed one.
Reilly, thank you for hiring me. I am so fortunate to have been able to learn from you for a semester. Thank you for being a great friend to me and everyone on staff.
Matt, your mentorship and encouragement has meant so much to me. Thank you for always making yourself available to me, Grant and Anthony when we need advice, and thank you for everything you do for our staff.
I can’t name many people I’ve met cooler than you, Paul. Though I wish we had the opportunity to work together for more than a semester, I am so glad to have had the pleasure of meeting you. Thanks for all the good vibes on production days.
Kas, there aren’t enough words to thank you for all you’ve done for me. You’ve supported me through my highs and lows, listened to me vent and comforted me when I’m upset. Thank you for always believing in me and for helping me believe in myself. Thank you for your continued encouragement, for inspiring me to be the best version of myself I can be and for accepting every part of me. I am so lucky to have you in my life.
Ciara, thank you for being such an amazing friend. Hanging out with you is always a good time. I will always cherish our Sonic and Dons runs, and our speed-watching of Glee even more so. Thank you for always being there for me when I needed a friend.
Julie, thank you for being another one of my closest friends at UB. I am so blessed to have had great friends at college from the very beginning. Thank you for being so kind and caring, and for going out of your way to help others. I am so appreciative of everything you’ve done for me.
There is no one I’d rather eat wings and play video games with than you, Brendan. Our friendship means so much to me.
Connor, you were the best freshman-year roommate I could’ve asked for. Thank you for suffering through chemistry and physics with me.
Kara, you immediately light up the office when you walk in. You are a fantastic writer and I hope I get to read your creative writing stories someday.
Sophie, I couldn’t ask for a better golf partner at UB than you. Thank you for making me feel so welcomed and comfortable on staff last spring.
Same to you, Jenna — I appreciate it more than you know.
Kyle, you have a gift. Your writing never ceases to amaze me. I admire how much detail and effort goes into all your stories, and I can’t wait to continue to read your work.
Kayla, your passion for telling stories and standing up for what’s right is inspiring. Keep spreading awareness through your writing.
Sai and Sabrina, it was an honor to be on staff with such talented photographers. Ditto to you two, John and Jade.
Jake, I can’t thank you enough for the work you’ve done for The Spectrum. We are in a much better spot now than we were a year ago thanks to you, and I know the entire staff appreciates your efforts in allowing us to print every week this semester.
Amy, you are capable of so many great things. You have all the qualities of a great leader, and the qualities of a great friend, too. I’m so glad we became friends this semester.
Brandon, it’s been a pleasure watching you improve as a sports journalist.
Hayden, I admire your passion, and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future.
Thanks for always bringing the good vibes, Dylan. You’re a talented columnist and I always look forward to reading your pieces.
A.J., I have so much respect for your work ethic and I’m so excited to see all the remarkable things you’ll do.
Darcy and Tenzin, thank you for always bringing positive energy into the office on production days, and for always putting up with me, Grant and Anthony.
Katie, it’s been so rewarding watching you grow as a writer and leader on staff.
Jasmin, you are a super talented features writer and I can’t wait to read more of your work.
Victoria and Kiana, we asked a lot of both of you when you joined the staff, and you did not disappoint. I’m so proud of you for jumping in the deep end and going above and beyond what me, Grant or Anthony could’ve ever hoped for. From the on-campus stabbing to the Michael Knowles protests, our news coverage was outstanding this year, and you two played a large role in making all that possible. I’m so glad we found you both when we did.
Meret, ever since the first production day in the fall, I knew your writing was special. Your story that first week blew me away so much that I had to put it on the front page. Your stories are enticing and your writing is engaging in a way where I’m always left wanting more to read.
Same to you too, Alex. Your witty writing style and ability to use humor so effectively makes me smile every time I read your work.
Ryan, you’ve come so far in such a short time, and I’m so excited for you to lead the staff next year as managing editor. I’m so proud of all the work you’ve done so far — our sports coverage this semester was phenomenal. Thank you for stepping up and giving 110%.
You are such a genuine human being, Moaz. You bring smiles to so many faces in a way that only you can. I never knew that photos could tell a whole story until I saw your work. You are so gifted, and I don’t know what we’d do without you on staff. I couldn’t ask for a better person to take over my position next year than you. I know you’ll do so many great things, both during and after your time at The Spectrum.
Emma, you are the real MVP. There quite literally would be no newspaper without you. Thank you for bringing creativity and life to my issue budget layouts. You are a fantastic artist and graphic designer. Every time I think the paper couldn’t possibly look any better, you wow us all. Thank you for putting up with all my nonsense on production days.
Grant and Anthony, we did it live, and we put on one hell of a show. I couldn’t have asked for two better people to run the newspaper with. We had some tough times, but I always knew we’d get through it together.
Grant, I am honored to have worked with such an incredibly talented journalist. There’s no better person to leave the paper to than you, and I’m so excited to see all the great things you’ll do as editor-in-chief next year.
Anthony, you’re an incredible leader, more than you give yourself credit for. You have a way of bringing the staff together, making us feel more like a family than a bunch of coworkers.
You both have become two of my closest friends at UB, and I’ll miss working on the paper with you every week.
Justin, thank you for being you. I’m not sure what I did to deserve a friend like you, but I am eternally grateful nonetheless. Your kindness is unmatched. You are a true mensch, and you’ve always been there for me when I needed it most. I will always look up to you, and I hope to one day be half the friend you’ve been to me.
Thank you for introducing The Spectrum to me. Joining the staff was one of the best decisions I’ve made in college. You convinced me to join as a way to find new friends — which I certainly did — but I ended up finding so much more than that. I found happiness at The Spectrum, and I found a home here, too.
Andrew Lauricella is the assistant managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org