Kayla Handy, Editor In Chief
Time has almost ran out. The clock is ticking down to the last few hours until graduation. For many seniors, graduation is peeking its head around the corner. For others, summer offers an escape to sandy beaches and late night campfires. Regardless the path that end of the school year will take you, we all will be walking off of Clarion University campus in a few short days and will follow our own path. We all will be leaving as friends, sisters and brothers; we all part our ways, pack up our bags and follow a path that only we know the final destination to.
College changed me as I am sure that college has changed and impacted the lives of every single one of you sitting before me. College has taught me that I am not any man’s tool, that I am not my mistakes, that I am so much more than the weaknesses and demons that I fight every day. I am more than my eating disorder. I am more than a statistic. I am more than just a face in a classroom- I can make a difference. I can walk my own path and not be afraid to walk it alone. And it is almost time to do so.
In the past four years, I have learned what my limitations are, both mentally and physically. I have learned what a few all-nighters fueled by Sheetz runs and 90s throwbacks can create- writing this last editorial for example. In the past four years- what has challenged you? What path have you taken, and do you like who you have become? Look around you. These are the people that you are walking out of classrooms, dorm rooms or heck the graduation stage, and on with your life beside. The curtains are closing, no more intermissions, no more recasts or auditions. This is it. The choices you have made up to this point have made you who you are today, the person that you see when you look in the mirror and the person that you are walking beside as you begin to walk down this new path in life. Are you happy with whom you have become? Well, you only have a few more moments to decide if you are.
After serving as the editor-in-chief for The Clarion Call for the past two years, I noticed that I have had only moments to decide if a story was important enough to run, if a picture was respectable or not or if an editorial was truly an opinion and not satire. I had only moments to take pride and dance excitedly over a page design, a well-written piece of work or a sharply cropped photo that I so highly question how my photographer got that angle in the first place. However, I had two years and millions of these moments. There were moments when I would walk home after a long night in The Call office (which in my heart will always be room 270 of Gemmell) and think to myself: I am so lucky to have such a great team. I am so lucky to have this opportunity, to make an impact on the student body. I am so lucky.
The past semester as EIC of The Call has been rough. I can honestly say that I struggled, that I had nights when I would break down because I thought I was failing my team. We underwent a room and building move, we saw a severe decrease in ad revenue and on top of it all, received a budget cut from the school. Heck, just last week we underwent editorial elections where all but three members of the staff needed replaced, and one of our editors quit the job with just two weeks left to work. I have never been so stressed, so worried, so driven to put my best foot forward, to make sure that everything went well and that we produced a kickass version of the paper- and met the supplier’s deadline. No matter how tough the fight got or how trampled I felt, I would do it all over again.
The most valuable thing that I gained as EIC wasn’t the real-life job experience, nor the pride in seeing my investigative story on the front page. It was being able to begin working with 12 other strangers in a field that we all love and walk out as friends.
I have made so many friends, and a few enemies, while serving as EIC of The Call. I have fought and defended my writers if a story was questioned or something went wrong. I have stood up for our right to know information regarding the interest and want of the public, questioning what does it mean, how does it affect us and how do we get there. I have laughed with them, picked on them, struggled with them and have become such close friends with so many of them.
With making these friends, these connections, I must offer this one piece of advice to the next editor-in-chief of The Clarion Call: remember that no matter where your path takes you, the friends that you make in that office, or rather in your college career, will be your lifelong friends. Sisters always. Leaders of men. This is your team now, this is your family to protect. Work together for and by one another, be the new watchdogs of society, be news leaders, be the student voice of Clarion University.
These are not some high school friendships that will be forgotten in a few years: these are future bridesmaids, godfathers, best friends and heck, future husband and wives. Above all, they are the people who will be waiting for you at the end of your path when you graduate or leave school for the summer. So pull back your hair, put on a pair of running shoes and begin walking down your own path as editor-in-chief, as an upperclassman, as Clarion graduate. Be proud of who you have become and where your life is heading, embrace the change. I am proud of where my path is leading me. After my time as News Editor and then EIC of The Call, I can say that I am ready to continue walking on my path. Although I may not be emotionally ready to move on, I know who will be at the end of my path waiting for me, and I am ready to embark on my next journey of my journalism career. My question to you is: do you?
Well fellow graduates, members of The Call, underclassmen, friends: time is up. Are you ready?