Welcome to the first and last column (and article) I will ever write for The Spectrum.
I’m not really sure where to begin with this. My spiteful side really just wanted to air all sorts of grievances.
I wanted to call out my s—tty freshman roommates, who played “hot girl bummer” as I moved all of my stuff out (‘cause that was so necessary). I really wanted to call out the terrible men who’ve broken my heart over the years, such as the boy who decided it’d be fun to say, “Yeah, I’ve been sleeping with this girl for four months even though I said I wasn’t. Oh, and she’s prettier than you.”
But this isn’t what this column should be about.
I won’t be name dropping everyone I’m scared of running into on campus (as much as I would love to).
Instead, I’d like to list off and thank all the wonderful people I’ve been blessed to know, but we’ll get to that.
I’d like to reflect on my years — the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations. I mean, come on, there was a literal global pandemic while we were in college.
As I mentioned before, I had some pretty s—tty freshman roommates. My first semester here left me wanting to transfer and run away from Buffalo.
But I stayed. I stayed for my friends in True Blue, I stayed for my friend Andy from orientation, I stayed for the potential of what I could blossom into in Buffalo.
And I’m so glad I stayed.
I only just joined The Spectrum in my last year here, so most of my time has been spent in the student section, cheering along with True Blue. I never expected that going to one volleyball game with my hallmates would turn into four years of losing my voice at games and amazing friendships.
I was never one to go to sports games in high school. When I did, I sat in the back of the student section with the marching band. But for some reason, screaming at the top of my lungs alongside the entire student section just felt right.
True Blue helped me find my voice, and ever since joining, I’ve felt more confident. I say what I want, I stand taller than I did in high school. I feel like because of True Blue, I’ve broken out of my shell that I was stuck in.
This might come as a surprise, but I really don’t care all that much about the sports. I love the rush of starting absurd chants, pissing off the benchwarmers or saying something completely out of pocket that messes up a player’s free throw.
If anyone from True Blue is reading this, I’d like to thank you all.
Ashley, Emily, Griffen, Alyssa, Gabby, Sarah, Natasha and Ray, thank you for making me want to stay in Buffalo in the first place and for giving me a safe space where I didn’t have to worry about how terrible my roommates were. Olivier and Ethan, thank you for keeping the spirit alive even through a global pandemic where there were no games. Nick, Sarah, Emma and Zianna, thank you for being the best people to be on e-board with. And to everyone else who showed up to games and helped us be the loudest and proudest club on campus, thank you.
I never imagined myself working for a newspaper, or even doing layout design, but when I received the position opening in a department listserv email, I thought I’d give it a shot. It’d look great on my resume right?
I had big shoes to fill, Paul was a beast when it came to the Spectrum layout and graphics. I thought sure, this can’t be hard.
But I learned fast and quickly got the hang of it. My first semester of layouts were OK, nothing too special since me and the other creative director were still learning.
Eventually two became one, and now here I am, every week praying to the Apple and Adobe gods that my computer doesn’t crash when making final draft edits.
I feel like I’m just getting started with The Spectrum, and it’s already coming to a close. The past few weeks, I’ve been imagining what I could do if I had just one more year, just one more semester, how much better I could lay this paper out. I feel like I never really embraced this role until this last semester, these last few editions, and it shows.
Alas, my time has come to a close and it’s time to pass the torch onto Rachel and Katya. The two of you will do an amazing job, and I’m so excited to see what you put out together.
I’d like to thank Paul for bringing me on, and giving me this wonderful opportunity to grow my graphic design skills and to meet all of these wonderful people.
Anthony, Grant and Andrew, I’d like to thank you for putting up with my s—t every week. My Wednesdays were brutal before even stepping foot in the office, and you three helped in every way possible to help me lay out the best newspaper possible each week. I could not have done any of this without your guys’ help.
Moaz, thank you for the production day taco runs. I’d like to thank you even more for stepping up in the spring to help me where I needed it with graphics and photos.
To all of the Spectrum staff, thank you for being amazing friends. I never would’ve thought I would even make friends in The Spectrum since I was just around to do layout on Wednesdays, but here we all are. Thank you all for listening to my tea spills, which unfortunately seemed to happen nearly every week this semester.
Andy, thank you for being my friend here at UB from day one. Never would I have imagined that getting mistaken for another person at orientation would turn into one of the most solid friendships I’ve had throughout college. Thank you for sticking by my side.
Ray, thank you for just being you. I’m so glad we stayed friends through all the bulls—t, even if we’re a little trauma bonded by the residents of Richmond 424.
Keara, Micky, Twiggy, Cass, Naija, Aanika, Ozzy, Rachel and the countless other friends I’ve made in the art department, thank you. I never thought that we would create such a beautiful cohort of artists together, and I can’t wait to see what our future holds together.
George, thank you for being an inspiration to my art career. I’ve never met someone as passionate about their students as you; getting to know you and to listen to your stories has been a blessing. I will carry the wisdom you’ve bestowed on me for the rest of my life.
Jeff, thank you for being truly one of the best mentors and professors I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. The support you provide to your students never goes unnoticed, and having a mentor that can help you navigate school and life difficulties has been outstanding.
To all the MFA students who have shown their support both in the classroom and in the hallways, thank you as well. You all create a net of support that the undergrads can lean on when they need it.
Professor Winter, thank you for inspiring me to heal from my trauma and share my story with the world. If I hadn’t taken your gender studies classes, I don’t think I would’ve had the courage to do that. Thank you for empowering me and helping me become the badass woman I am today.
Olivia, Kelly, Jordan, Kirsten, Taylor, Kaitlyn and Alyssa, thank you all for being amazing roommates. The expectations I had were extremely low after my first roommate experience. Olivia, I won’t ever forget sneaking a hamster into Governors and hiding it from our RA. Alyssa, thank you for being such a wonderful person to live with for the past two years. I have truly never had a better roommate.
I’d like to especially thank my therapist (who I will not be naming) for helping me heal from everything I’ve been through and providing the support I desperately needed. I was at probably one of the lowest points of my life, and I never thought I would overcome the trauma and crippling anxiety I was experiencing before I met you. With your support, I’ve found the inner peace and happiness I was looking for.
To all of the other people I have been blessed to know throughout my four years here, thank you.
I feel like I am leaving UB a better person than who I entered as. I’ve been through so much: a global pandemic, a chronic disease diagnosis, making and losing friends, heartbreak. Through it all, I’ve grown as a person, and for the better.
And lastly, go Bulls.
Emma Stanton is the senior creative director and can be reached at email@example.com