Editor’s Notes: Traditionally graduating seniors working at The Collegian are given the chance to write a farewell note at the end of their tenure at CSU.
Really, it is all downhill from here. I mean, where else can a journalist get away with making mistakes, getting lost and missing deadlines without being in trouble like I have been able to at Student Media?
I have done my fair share of all three of those things in the past two and a half years with Rocky Mountain Student Media, and it has been the best time of my life. The sporting experiences these past few years have been incredible and will be moments I will never forget.
I witnessed a brand-new stadium open from the sidelines. Traveled to Seattle and San Francisco to witness a perennial top-25 volleyball team compete in the biggest spotlight of their sport outside of the Olympics. I even witnessed a basketball tournament in Las Vegas that had a Sweet 16 team in the Nevada Wolfpack.
All of these moments will be something I can one day look back on and tell my friends, my children, my family and whoever else that is willing to listen. And yet, this is only just beginning.
Nine days after graduation, I will be moving on to my job at The Pueblo Chieftain covering sports and starting my sports journalist career. Finding a job out of college is hard for everyone nowadays and I am so grateful for the people at the Chieftain to give such a young journalist this wonderful opportunity.
Getting through school was never the easiest. My family could not really afford to help out financially with anything, forcing me to balance work, school and reporting for the Collegian. That meant nights of staying up until one or three in the morning working and then waking up for a class at 9 a.m.
I did have a good time working fast food still. I worked at Taco Bell and, along with my friend Josh Borga, we took on the fun title of being “Taco Bell Guy” and trying to make the job more fun. We would say stupid taco-related jokes to give the most-likely drunk customers a laugh. Probably my peak popularity. But hey, it made the nights bearable.
Having that fun persona was really just a cover for how tough it was to miss out on the many other opportunities presented in front of me from the Collegian.
Working late-night Taco Bell meant missing out on game coverage from CSU sports since most of the big games took place at night. I never could really hang out in the newsroom with fellow reporters because I had to do homework in-between all my classes since my nights were booked. Plus, my phone did not get service in the basement of the LSC (thanks AT&T).
That is why I am very thankful for the friends I made at Taco Bell who always supported me and allowed me to show up late so many times. A big shout-out to my closest friends, Maria Ramos, Cody Hyde and Steven Evans.
I was still able to write some incredible stories that I think really meant quite a bit to the people they were about,\ and the community. My goal in sports media is to find the best stories outside of the lines, and I feel that mission was accomplished with each beat I was placed on.
As for my time at CSU, it has been an incredible one. Walking around campus the last few days has made me really think about how amazing this place has been to me. I was truly able to discover who I was, and learn about what real life will ask of me and what it meant to be on your own.
I was never actually alone though, because I always had my wonderful girlfriend, Faviola Robles, by my side. Supporting my career has never been easy with the late nights spent covering CSU athletics or working or doing homework. Faviola has always stayed strong though and loved me through it all.
She still has another year-and-a-half at CSU as she is pursuing her undergrad in Psychology and then eventually applying for grad school and then some day receiving her PhD. She is the most dedicated and smart woman I have ever met and I am lucky to have been with her from senior year at Wheat Ridge High school, about four-and-a-half years ago.
The next step will require me to move three hours away from Fort Collins to Pueblo, but I know that no distance can ever be greater than the love I have for Faviola (sorry for the cheesy love story).
Sports have and always will be my biggest passion though, and I am beyond excited to start making my way through the craziness of the sports media world. The many lessons of classwork and student media taught me what the industry looks like and I feel very prepared to take it on.
My editors, Chad Deutschman, Justin Michael and Colin Barnard are big contributors to that. Thank you guys for always reading through my copy and making sure I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. Also a big thank you to Mike Brohard for letting me intern with him at the Loveland Reporter-Herald this last semester. And also thank you to Bryan Buck and Nick Baker for keeping me on the sports department of KCSU.
It was great getting to know you Fort Collins, and there is no doubt I will be back to visit as often as possible. I am, and always will be, proud to be a CSU Ram.
Collegian sports reporter Austin White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajwrules44