As college comes to a close, I’m not melancholy about the end of early morning classes, finals and group projects. But I am sad to say goodbye to the newsroom. Everyone who works for student media calls our office a family. We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, picked each other up on rough days and, as if we don’t see each other enough, spent weekends together at house parties and bars.
As I bid farewell, I will say my goodbyes through my family tree.
Neill Woelk: I’ve seen so many friends leave student media to go on to bigger and better things, but your goodbye was the hardest. You were a bulldog for your newsroom, always fighting for our rights. You made sure you got to know every student who came into the newsroom–and to be honest, you learned my name before I learned yours. You made that newsroom a home, and we even called you Papa Neill behind your back.
The Kates: I don’t think anyone can quite live up to your legacy, partly because I don’t think you ever slept. You set the standard for excellent writing, but more importantly, excellent leaders that I aspire to be. Every time the ship was sinking, I knew you two would take care of us.
Keegan Williams: If it wasn’t for you, I’d still be pursuing my crackpot idea of being a rock journalist for “Rolling Stone.” I’m so thankful that you were my first editor, the first one to give me a paycheck at student media and the one to introduce me to my passion for social media. When I started working for you, I didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account or a smartphone. Look how much that’s changed.
My sister of the newsroom, Kailee: You are the Anne Perkins to my Leslie Knope, you beautiful, funny and smart baby squirrel. You put in so much work that you give your coworkers a run for their money. I’ll miss working summer nights with you and Danny on deadlines, listening to the Beach Boys and Smash Mouth.
My reporter babies, Chapman and Erik: Words cannot express how proud I am that I raised you from newbies to media heads. I’ll never forget our first encounters, talking to a geeky freshman about “Game of Thrones,” and getting a weird voicemail from a British guy. When I edited your first articles, I wouldn’t have been surprised to find out I was mentoring my replacement and the next executive editor because you two had such an impressive drive. Even after I leave the newsroom, I will always be your newsroom mom.
And, the best for last, Räley: It’s safe to compare us to Jim and Pam, right? One year ago, I was just a girl who had a crush on a guy at work. Who would have known that the guy from the ads staff, who heard me ramble on about payroll because I thought you worked in accounting, wouldn’t think I was crazy. This certainly isn’t goodbye, but it’s goodbye to coming into and leaving the office together every day. All my best memories of college and student media, both in and out of the newsroom, are with you. I’ll always be thankful for finding my rock, my person, at student media.
Collegian Social Media Editor Katie Schmidt can no longer be reached at social firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can still find her tweeting about rabbits and Jon Snow on Twitter @KatieDSchmidt.