Friday, March 29, 2013

My Last Days as Editor of The Reflector: Part One

I've spent the past four years in a college newsroom. I've spent the last two serving as editor-in-chief of The Reflector. From this summer onward, I keep having the best time of my life — you know, that mythical experience promised to you as you enter college.

For the past few years, I've always known what I was going to do the next year. I've always had a plan, and that plan hinged on my ideas and goals for The Reflector. I've been happy being a part of the editorial board, and I've learned. And maybe I've taught someone something worth knowing.

Last week, Kaitlyn Byrne was chosen as my successor as editor-in-chief. Yesterday, she announced her new staff. I'm so proud of her and my staff members who have gained new positions. Congratulations to all of them, and they will do a fantastic job next year.

Yesterday, many staff members attended the Better Newspaper Contest Awards Ceremony at the O.C. McDavid Conference.  We learned a lot, had fun taking one last trip together, and picked up an insane amount of awards. 

The two awards I'm most personally proud of receiving: First place in General Excellence (we're all winners) and first place in spot news coverage for our work on the on-campus shooting last March.
Ms. McDavid, Julia, Farrah, Zack, Mary Chase, John, Emma, Me, Eric, and Kaitlin.
See? The plaque is reflecting the light ... get it?

I was so excited. Seriously.

Earlier this year, I missed SEJC because of a scheduling conflict. But, thankfully, I was able to attend one last trip with my friends. Awards aren't important. They are not the reason we write, take photographs, edit, or design. We do it because we want to serve our community. But awards do reflect that we are doing jobs well, so on occasion, it's nice to receive validation.

Tuesday was our last paper before the transition period between new and old staffs. On Sunday (yes, we work on Easter — I've actually worked on Easter for the past four years), we will welcome next year's editorial board members to the office officially. And, hopefully, I can give them a couple of lectures on the importance of ethics, Dickens, accurate reporting, professionalism, Dickens, editing, design, teaching, and Dickens before I leave.

I know I will miss the newspaper next year. But, for the moment, it's time to celebrate our time together and work to pass on four years of editing knowledge.

Again, I'm so proud of everyone on staff (editors, writers, photographers, advertising reps) this year. You deserve all of the praise. I could not have produced a single edition without you.

Scotland: Or, How I Found the Tardis

The bus ride was one of the worst experiences of my life. The less said about said bus ride, the better. Because we didn't book a hostel before leaving for Edinburgh, Josh and I went on a search for wi-fi in order to do so. So with little to no sleep, we pulled our bags across the (very hilly) city.

Someone wanted to stop at McDonald's. It wasn't me. But the point is, we eventually found a hostel, took a nap, and start having adventures.

I have tried to find the words to describe Scotland because it was the best trip of my life. Least importantly, I received a much needed break from work and school after three years of non-stop writing and research. But I also met my best friend on this trip. And I got to prank so many people with random phone calls that started a conversation with, "Hey, by the way, I ran away with a boy to Scotland. I'll see you in a few weeks."

This is a Hairy Coo. It's the only cow I've ever loved. I made Josh take a photo of me with it.
I saw the Isle of Skye. I claim that I could have potentially seen the Loch Ness Monster. And I found the sense of purpose I needed to decide that I did want to apply to grad school to study Victorian Literature. Oh, and I found a cow I actually liked.

I also saw blue police boxes across Edinburgh, so you know that The Doctor is having adventures.

Being away from home made me value it even more when I returned. And I know one day I'll return and make some new adventures.

After Josh and I spent almost a week in Scotland, we returned to London because someone washed his passport. (Hint: It wasn't me.) And I got to see "Wicked" again. And visit the Tower of London and St. Paul's Cathedral.

I'm thankful for being able to study abroad and travel, and the Mississippi State Study Abroad Office, the Honors College, and my family are responsible for a why I could go. I appreciate the opportunity I was given, and I hope others who go to Oxford after me will have similar experiences.