In Sept. 2015, Rocket representatives came into my FYRST Seminar classroom. They talked about how great an opportunity contributing to The Rocket was, especially for journalism majors like I was at the time. An eager beaver, I signed my name under the Campus Life section.
I wrote a few articles over the next few months, and when Spring semester rolled around and The Rocket was hiring the next staff, the Sports Editor at the time Ryan Barlow told me to apply. So I did. A week or so later, I got an email from Barlow introducing himself as the new Editor-in-Chief and congratulating me on my new position as Editor of the Campus Life section.
As I continued my and my section’s coverage of the faces and places of Slippery Rock University, I found myself loving more and more about human interest pieces and learning about the people associated with the university I love so dearly. Now a public relations major, I get to produce more and more human interest-based content and I’ve never been happier. Without The Rocket, I would have never learned that about myself.
Since I’ve been on staff, The Rocket has been through a lot. From the APSCUF strike and having to produce an edition without a faculty advisor to everything that’s happened over the last few weeks, I’ve never not had an exciting semester working for my favorite newspaper. Sure, sometimes it was crazy, but it was never boring, and that’s a fact.
When I completed my senior presentation this past week, I found myself reflecting almost entirely on the organizations I’ve been part of: the Musical Theatre Society, the Marching Pride and, of course, The Rocket. These three groups have given me everything but the clothes on my back and I’m so lucky and so grateful to have dedicated four years of my life to them and the people in them. Without these organizations, I wouldn’t know almost any of my best friends, from connecting with Chris ‘Peach Rose’ Luffy during the American Idiot cabaret to falling in love with Jack Hopey from the euphonium section. From kicking butt at pong with Ian Steward to playing hall-ball in the middle of the night with Kali Kerstetter and Katie Schlack, I’ve met the most amazing people here at The Rock, and don’t even get me started on the 28 members of The Rocket Staff who’ve impacted me. (If that number isn’t right, I apologize. I am a comm. major, after all.)
Actually, when I was figuring out that possibly-incorrect number up there, I remembered something else: Eric Davies and I are the only two staff members left who served under Dr. Zeltner, which is kind of crazy. We’re old, I guess. Dr. Zeltner affected me so much as a professor and advisor. I mean, Mass Media and Society was the class when I decided that I was absolutely in the right department and he taught me more about newspaper than I ever could’ve imagined.
Dr. Fleming has also been an incredible teacher. I learned so much about collaboration and convergence between organizations, multimedia-related stuff I never knew before and generally how to present more professionally while staying fun and interesting. I mean, she’s “Legally Blonde: the Musical” in “The Rocket Staff as Musicals” for a reason.
I kind of want to thank all 28 former and current members of The Rocket Staff, but that’ll take some time, so I’ll just summarize. Thank you for teaching me everything you’ve taught me: the dice game, what it really means to be scared of horses, how to dance like the whitest person in the room, how to make multimedia your bitch (can I say that?), how to work through a faculty strike and how to handle an overwhelming amount of cyberbullying and harassment. There’s so much more I’ve learned, both serious and not, from all of you, and I’m just so grateful.
I never thought that, eight semesters after signing my name on that sheet of notebook paper, I’d be who and where I am today. And it’s all thanks to The Rocket and the other amazing organizations I’ve been part of. A very special (and large) piece of my heart will be left in 220 Eisenberg when I finally leave for the last time (I’m actually tearing up) and the memories made in that office will always live in my mind. Thank you, to the staff members and to the readers.