As the outgoing editor-in-chief and a past “threat to the normal operations of the university,” it’s time to say goodbye to the job I have grown to love, and goodbye to some of the closest friends I have ever had.
When I left my Chicago home to attend Western Illinois University in August 2011, it was tough leaving my family. It was a culture shock coming from a city of three million to a town of 20,000, but over the last few years Macomb has become my second home. And over the last four and a half years, I’ve added a second family, my Western Courier family.
I have been so privileged to get a chance to work with the people I have been working with every day. The chemistry we’ve had is unlike most newsrooms across the country. We’ve been through some tough times over the years, but it never stopped us. I know I wouldn’t change anything if I had the chance to rewind my life.
I was just a scientist. This journalism thing was the furthest thing from my mind when I walked into Thompson Hall my freshman year, and I certainly wasn’t ready to fight a very public legal battle.
I’ve had to deal with so many interesting events and people. I could have taken an easy way out and not done my job to the best of my abilities, but that’s not who I am, and that’s not what the readership of the Western Courier deserved.
In addition, the support I received over the years has been incredible and has made it all worth it.
I hate to keep bringing up the suspension incident, but my unfortunate reality is that it’s my legacy leaving Western. It has even been brought up in several job interviews. After Western overstepped its authority, support came flooding in from everywhere and there is no way I could have gotten through it all without it.
I have to thank the Student Press Law Center, the Illinois News Broadcasters Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Western Courier alumni and countless others for writing support and condemning the university’s actions.
Closer to home, I have to extend my sincerest thanks to the former Director of Student Publications Richard Moreno. He has been an incredible mentor as I began to pursue my interest in journalism. He gave me the push to leave my comfort zone. I at first resisted, but am now forever thankful.
I of course cannot forget my meteorology family across the street. Professors Redina Herman, Marcus Buker and Thomas Williams, thank you for the incredible opportunities I have gotten at Western. Specifically Dr. Herman, a huge thank you for helping me pursue research. You have an incredible desire to see her students succeed.
In addition to the Courier, I have been a weather anchor on News 3 for the last three years. Thank you to my many co-anchors and staff over the years, and of course news coordinator Jasmine Crighton. The words of encouragement, the advice and the direction has been incredible, and I’ll be forever thankful. You all started me down the broadcast journalism route, something that will likely be a big part of my future endeavors.
To my closest friends, thank you for always being there when I needed you. Also thank you for helping me discover another world other than non-stop work and to enjoy Friday nights like a normal college student. Our trips to Chubby’s for bacon burgers and late night talks about basically anything were something I always looked forward to. No matter where we end up in life, we will always be in constant communication and we will get together throughout the year.
Finally, to Erika Ward the next editor-in-chief, thank you for helping me revive my love for politics and for keeping me awake on those long car rides back from Iowa covering various political events. Your passion for journalism is contagious. The Courier is in great hands.
So this is it. It’s sad to leave, but it’s time to start my next path. I’m not normally an emotional person, many people can tell you that, but I will say seeing the email reminding me I have to turn my office key in was a little too much for me to handle.
Working at the Courier has been an opportunity few students get a chance to experience, and I’m grateful I had that opportunity.