When classes first started, I excitedly opened the door to my new office and sat down as The Spectrum’s new editor-in-chief.
"I awoke to hundreds of messages from friends, acquaintances and strangers telling me that someone made a fake Instagram, nearly identical to my personal account, offering access to a private Snapchat story where “I” would post explicit photos and nude content."
Editors Note: This letter remains in the condition it was sent.
I write to draw attention to the deafening silence emanating from the University at Buffalo and the College of Arts and Science on developments following the brutal execution of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police and the resulting street protest across the nation and internationally by diverse groups calling for racial equality.
Before I began my pursuit of journalism … actually, scratch that. During my first-ever interview in February 2012, a source gave me the greatest advice I could ever use. “Life is about dealing with all situations in moderation,” he said. “Whether you’re a celebrity, a teacher or just a guy with a shovel in his hand, digging a ditch.”
I remember sitting in my first Spectrum class. It was fall 2018, the first day of my second year at UB. A year –– I promised myself –– that I would change my perspective. And boy was I in for a treat. Jody started talking about journalism and I was hyped. “This is perfect,” I thought. It was everything I was looking for in a career all lumped into one 300-level class.
Last semester, my intramural soccer team lost in the semi-finals of the UB playoffs. It was a bummer for a team that still never won a championship. We’d come so close so many times over the last seven semesters. “But at least we had one more opportunity,” we thought. “We still had the spring.” Turns out we didn’t.
I never had a chance to make The Spectrum office the home it could have been. Usually, these types of columns are a place where I should say “things didn’t turn out how I planned them, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” But that’s simply not true.
It’s been almost two months since UB shut down campus, which means it’s been almost two months since I’ve been in The Spectrum office. Or since we’ve had a secret “girls room” meeting. Or since we’ve gone on a Tim Horton’s run, only to find out the line was too long. Or since we’ve bleached someone's hair in the conference room.
At the end of every academic year I would read all of the “goodbye columns” the seniors would write before they go to print. I’d tear up because they were always so moving. Everyone would talk about how they found their home away from home in our windowless office, how they shared laughs or napped on one of the couches. But I didn’t think I would ever write one.
I never thought that one day in March, sitting in Capen with my friend since middle school, would define so much of the rest of my college experience. I never thought I would be walking into a news office, excited to get a job with my extreme lack of experience and interest in writing.
This isn’t my goodbye to UB, but it is a goodbye to The Spectrum and the dominant experience of my college years. More importantly, this isn’t a goodbye to my friends, but it is a thank you. When I walked into the office freshman year, terrified of an editing quiz and all of the seemingly-always-have-their-lives-together people, I never knew it would become such a big part of my life. I didn’t know it would be where I met the majority of my friends in college, where I’d finally get the courage to publish something I wrote, or where I’d spend what felt like 90% of my semester.
Like many people, I have a hard time getting out of bed without browsing social media for far too long first. This includes Instagram, Reddit, Facebook (for five seconds before I realize what I’m doing and close the app) and my least favorite: Twitter.
Editor’s note: This column contains sensitive content about domestic abuse which may be triggering. The 911 operator knew who my roommate and I were when we called. We’d give them the address and they filled in the rest of the details themselves.