Junior. Transfer student. Scared beyond belief. Those were the descriptions I gave people during the icebreaker sessions during my brief orientation at VCU.
I transferred to VCU in 2016 on a whim. I had left my dream school Coastal Carolina University (Natty Champs #GoChants) and went from studying marine science to journalism and had no idea what I was doing. I went from the beach to the city and constantly questioned if I was making the right choice. But there was always one thing I could count on to comfort me: The Commonwealth Times.
I decided to apply to VCU because of the CT. No one knows that, but it’s the truth. I remember sitting at the marine science center front desk looking at an online issue when I was supposed to be scheduling a tour thinking, “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it right.” I applied past the deadline and by a miracle was accepted, trading in my black and teal for black and gold.
Fast forward a few months, and it was the day of the student media open house. I left work early to make it on time and there I was, taking my first steps on campus, walking into a room of students that was, for lack of a better term, overwhelming, until I reached the CT. I filled out the info form and asked the girl standing next to me if there was anyone I could talk to about sports writing. There they were, Zach and Sophia sitting across the table.
I didn’t know that during the first meeting I would sit among experienced writers and grab my first story. “Freshmen dominate in Spider Alumni Open,” was published on the front page on Sept. 12, 2016. I didn’t know that I would get to meet Gabe, Nick, Keyris, Adam, Rodney and Daniel. I didn’t know that I would grow relationships with Chris and Evan and bug them constantly for interview requests. I didn’t know I would be a part of 55 issues, write 60 stories, and lead the basketball issue. I didn’t know I would get to sit among amazing and talented editors like Katie, Georgia, Caitlin, Nia, Fadel and Saffeya or hang out till one in the morning with Andy, MP, Ryan and Jeffrey. I would have never imagined going to meet Vice President Mike Pence and being extremely uncomfortable with Erin. I didn’t know I would get to watch Andy, Jaron, Adam, Daniel, Nile, Sam, Rodney, Sravan and Noah grow as writers. I have full confidence that you all will be just fine come spring semester with Noah in charge.
I would have never known that walking into the Student Media Center during open house would lead me to writing this farewell (and sobbing), having to say goodbye to the people that assured me I did the right thing.
Thank you Zach for believing in me. I know I could have never filled your shoes as sports editor but you have taught me more than any professor could have. You were with me from the very beginning and your kindness and drive helped more than you know. You may miss brunch sometimes and show up late to meetings because the line at Panda was too long, but you belong in Richmond with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and I’ll be watching you from Harrisonburg.
Thank you to everyone I have ever met at the CT who welcomed a scared transfer student into your arms. I owe so much to you.
Final last words: it’s time to PDF.