Looking forward, looking back

A freshman and a senior reflect on the year they’ve had

Leading at the last minute

I have waited until the last possible minute to write this send-off. For many, this comes as no surprise. I frequently push the deadline with the paper. Waiting and marinating on stories until the last possible minute, I want to make sure I have given each story its due amount of time. Either that or I’m just horrible at time management. I suppose it’s a difference in perspective.

But this time my lateness is different. 

I don’t want to write this send-off. 

It’s become tradition for seniors on staff to write a send-off and I almost got away with avoiding it as I’m the only senior on staff, but my staff convinced me and reminded me of my duty to dispose of my wisdom (whatever that wisdom may be).

But I don’t want to, because in writing it I know I’m leaving the paper.

It’s impossible to list the ways that this staff and this position has changed me. I am an undoubtedly a different person for it, a more capable person and, I know, although I question it, a better person. This has happened in so many ways, but I don’t want this to become terribly long (if journalism has taught me anything, brevity is king), so I’m going to focus on my perception of leadership. 

Coming into The Captain’s Log was a surprise to me. Cornered by our previous Editor-in-Chief, Melanie Occhiuzzo, in our shared documentary class she encouraged me to apply to become the A&E Editor. Although I had written a couple of stories here and there, I was surprised by the recommendation and her interest. I didn’t feel like I knew how to lead or would be a good fit for the paper, but she saw something in me and encouraged me to apply. I don’t know if I’ve thanked her enough for that. 

This was my junior year. Inexperienced and uninvolved on campus, I was terrified of my position. But that fear developed into love and appreciation as I learned the ins-and-outs of the paper, and how I lead. I learned that leadership doesn’t have to be who is the loudest, or the most strict. I learned that leadership can be collaborative and that true change can happen on campus if individuals are given a voice. 

This year that transformation of leadership has only deepened within me as I have been able to expand my coverage and help other editors with story choices. 

Coming into my position, I didn’t think that someone like me could lead, could serve my community. All I had to offer was my writing, my editing. How can I create a positive change with that?

But this year, I have seen and I have highlighted so much student change. I have seen the campus come alive. I have seen students become involved and I have helped so many of them strengthen their voice. Yes, me, the person who hates confrontation, who sweats profusely when I have to speak in public. I have helped this community, in some small way, come alive.

All of this is being said not to brag, but because I want to express how much this organization has changed me and I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to leave because I care about this organization. I don’t want to leave because I know I am a better person in it. But most of all, I don’t want to leave because I still don’t think I’ve done enough in exchange for all its given me. 

So I guess all I have left is thanks. Thank you Melanie for seeing something in me. Thank you Michael and Matthew for not chewing my head off even though you probably had a right to. Thank you Emma, Hannah, Kristen, Anna, Liam, Mara and Paige for letting me lead you, especially as I grew into my position. Thank you Dr. Carney and Dr. Emmelhainz for helping through some of the hardest points and hardest nights. Thank you Katie for helping me trudge through administration, especially when I didn’t understand it. Thank you CNU for being such an easy place to write about. And thank you the reader, for coming back and believing that what we do matters. 

If I can leave you with any piece of advice, I leave you with this. It isn’t too late to be a leader. You don’t have to fit into a certain mold. Find your passion, find your people and use it to help people. You’ll be surprised by the things you can accomplish, especially when you’re surrounded by such a wonderful staff.

~Morgan Barclay, Editor-in-Chief~

Freshman year advice from a soon-to-be-sophomore

One year done, another three more years to go. As the school ends, it is a good time to reflect and ponder on what happened throughout the year. 

From a freshman’s eye, it was an exciting time, at the beginning of August. You are finally alone without your parents’ guidance. I enjoyed the comfort of being away from my parents, even as I have to now do my own laundry, judge if my room is clean, and nag on my suitemate to clean the living room. 

After becoming acclimated to the college atmosphere, I felt free and ready to face the “difficult” classes of college. 

The first semester, I felt okay. The classes felt like high school: manageable assignments, understandable lessons, but having an intellectual atmosphere of college. 

I felt like this was almost too easy. Choosing classes for next semester, I thought all of college would be a cakewalk. 

I got myself a slap to the face. 

This second semester, I have now created study sessions for Calculus I and I am currently reviewing notes for Modern Philosophy. 

I predicted it was going to get difficult after freshman year, but I been naive to think it would happen later, in sophomore year. Learn a lesson and never think lightheartedly about classes.

In addition, being alone for the first time can feel pretty lonely. 

Being active on campus help eased the loneliness. 

I made a club my first semester, the Tabletop RPG Organization, a club specializing in tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons and I became involved in The Captain’s Log. It was an interesting experience, learning how to manage a club on a college campus, but learning from other established clubs on campus, I now understand the process. 

The most important thing I learned from coming into college, though, is the importance of friends. Friends offer new ideas and concepts that I would never think about, advice and help curing that lonely Friday night. The friends I made from either clubs, classrooms, or lending a helping hand, are the value to my reflection.

As one year ends, another one begins. 

~Felix Phommachanh, Staff Writer~

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