Two and a half years ago, a very different person entered The Mercury newsroom than the one now leaving. As I make my farewell, I know that the future of my entire career owes much to my short past at a small college newspaper.
When I first walked into the newsroom in September 2001, it was in the wake of the most horrific news event the United States has ever seen. And now I leave
The Mercury to accept an engineering job by reporting on Europe’s most tragic day. But reporting on such a negative topic as terrorism and many other events has had a completely positive effect on me.
My first assignment was to collect quotes from students about their reactions to the World Trade Center attacks. As I waded through a shocked campus giving students an outlet to express their tangled emotions, I found myself bitten by the bug that is a passion for journalism.
From then on, an extracurricular activity – originally intended to act as a balance to my intense engineering classes – consumed my every waking moment not already taken by school. And in some cases, my sleeping moments as well.
As editor-in-chief this past year, I have begun to truly recognize and appreciate the life lessons The Mercury has given me.
This newspaper has taught me how to talk to people with confidence, how to represent myself and my organization professionally and to think on my feet. I have learned to organize my thoughts quickly and convey them eloquently, to communicate effectively and concisely both verbally and in the written word and to take pride in my work.
It is impossible to know what other journalism skills will apply to the engineering job that is stealing me away from the paper a month before my term is complete. But I know the dream job I landed in this tough market is due in large part to my service at the paper.
Aside from the professional aspects of the newspaper, there is the emotional side as well.
Anyone who comes in contact with The Mercury can see we are a family. We work together, play together, fight and console each other. It’s so much more than a job. So much more than producing 12 pages of newsprint students read in between classes.
The staff is composed of disparate majors, few of which are even writing-oriented, but they all are people who have a commitment to excellence and personal enrichment.
I think this personal drive is the real reason we work countless late nights in the newsroom.
We do it for ourselves first, for each other secondly and for everyone else after that.
I know it is my time to move on and leave the paper to future generations of Mercurians who I hope will perpetuate the momentum the paper has gained in the last couple of years.
I will miss the eccentric, energetic and brilliantly talented amalgam of students that makes up my Mercury family.
The world changed the day I came to The Mercury. Maybe because of the lessons I learned at The Mercury, I could one day change the world.