Written by: Will Lewis, Olivia McLean, Rebecka McAleer, Joe Adgie, Hillary Straba
It’s weird to write something in the first person. Working with The Spectator has caused me to grow increasingly comfortable with the third person omniscient tone of a narrator, but now I am casting that tone aside as I adopt something more personal. After four years at VSU and two with The Spectator, I am saying goodbye.
Working to inform the student body has been one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences I have had since coming to VSU. The Spectator has taught me responsibility, punctuality and how to be “a half-inch taller than my competitors.”
I have dealt with the frustrations of writing my crowning achievement, only to receive an email the next day that I made a blatant typo, or by being brushed off by someone dodging an interview.
Despite all the frustrations and disappointments, I have enjoyed working with some of the friendliest and most dedicated students I have ever known—people that I am proud to consider friends.
On May 10, I will step across a stage and cross into the professional world.
The Spectator will still be here though, and it will continue to publish quality news and informed opinions until we are all graduated and then after.
As this semester comes to an end, I realize how fast time really goes by. Just four years ago, I was a freshman at VSU, completely undecided on what I wanted to study. By the end of my sophomore year, I decided I wanted to be a journalist and began taking classes in that field. Writing for The Spectator for the past year and a half has made me a better writer, but in addition to that, it has helped me form a bond with people who are have an interest in journalism.
Because I studied something that I have a genuine interest in, I am looking forward to venturing out into the real world. I hope to someday write for a major magazine, truly loving my career choice.
To those of us at The Spectator, this letter is the most heavily pondered piece we will ever write. That being said, I, too, have thought long and hard about what to say. How do you sum up four years with this newspaper in 300 words? It’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle.
In my seven semesters on the editorial staff, I have seen so many people come and go. I have worked for six different editors-in-chief. I have held two different official positions, and countless unofficial ones. I have been Web Editor, Multimedia Editor, photo consultant, videographer, editorial writer, coffee runner, snack supplier, impromptu IT department, sanity-preserver, best friend, rival, mentor—the list is endless.
I’ve learned many lessons at this job, not all of which I was thrilled to learn. Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way, the ugly way, the slog-through-the-mud way. You have to learn to keep smiling, because it’s possible that if you don’t, no one else will.
You learn to keep snacks in your desk. You learn to get your coffee early, because you may not be able to leave the office later. You learn to read the people around you, and tell which suspicious eye twitches mean danger.
You learn to do things not because it’s your greatest dream to do them, but because they need to be done. Sometimes there is no one else who can do what you do.
Thank you, coworkers. You are my office family. May Disney coloring pages forever grace your walls. Amber, thank you for listening to bad pop music and making bracelets with me. Jennifer, thank you for being the fire to my rain.
With this, I bid Valdosta State University and The Spectator adieu. Here’s hoping I never stop learning.
Social Media Editor
So one part of my journey has come to an end, and another is beginning soon. I am leaving Valdosta State, and The Spectator, to go out into the world of professional journalism. I wouldn’t ask for anything else.
These two years and two months that I have spent at The Spectator have probably been the most rewarding period of my entire life. I figured out what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to spend my life. Without The Spectator, and the editors and advisors that have pushed me, prodded me and more, I don’t know what I’d be doing now.
A huge thank you goes to Dr. Ted Geltner and Keith Warburg for pushing me to become a better reporter and editor. But an even bigger thank you goes to Dr. Pat Miller. Your influence on my life is greater than you will ever know, both professionally and personally.
It was twelve months ago that you called me into your office and, in no uncertain terms, told me to change my attitude on life. I was initially pissed off at what you told me, but that meeting had a greater impact, for the good, on how I handle the struggles in both journalism and with my family and friends.
To the editors that I have been lucky to work with—Stephanie Turner, Amber Smith, Jennifer Gleason and Will Lewis—thank you for putting up with me on Wednesday nights. I might have been one of the more grating personalities to deal with during layout night, but hell, I was glad to work with you.
To the writers of The Spectator, you are the voice of the students. Use this voice well.
To the readers of The Spectator, thank you for picking us up on Thursdays. I hope we made you smarter and more informed, and thus, better than those that didn’t pick us up. In fact, I know you were.
God bless you all, and as the old Vera Lynn song goes, “I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.”
Two years ago, I arrived in Valdosta from the great country of New Mexico. You, the reader, may know that New Mexico is one of the fifty states, but a surprising number of people around here think it is a newer part of Mexico. During my first few weeks on campus I was asked if I was an exchange student, if I needed a visa to attend classes and if I spoke Spanish.
Eventually, I was accepted as a citizen both of this country and of VSU, and after a few semesters I found my place on campus—the English Department and The Spectator.
I have worked with many great professors in the department, but there are a few who stand out. First, I would like to thank Dr. Byron Brown for his excellent guidance and ability to make British romantic literature more interesting. Next, I would like to thank Dr. Kendric Coleman for believing in my ideas and helping me navigate the uncharted waters of Toni Morrison’s anti-feminism. Finally, I would like to thank Ted Geltner and Dr. Pat Miller for recruiting me for The Spectator.
I did not expect to like VSU, but I am thankful for the wonderful people I have met, especially my Spectator family.
As I trade the front lawn for the Golden Gate, I just have one thing left to say…the snacks were great.