To most, dress for success is just a saying; make sure you look good so that people will take you seriously. For me, that’s how I dressed for my first interview for The Rocket three years ago.
The vote to determine who would be The Rocket’s multimedia reporter for the 2016-2017 school year came down to a dead heat between myself and another candidate. The staff debated back and forth on who would be the better addition to the team, when one member asked, “Who was the kid with the socks?” It was me, the kid with the socks. My father is a first-generation immigrant from England, and one time after returning home from visiting some family he brought me a pack of socks. One of those pairs had a union jack covering the whole top of the fabric. It was those socks that caught the eye of one staffer and made them think, “someone who would wear socks like that wouldn’t be afraid to walk up to someone and asked them questions.” It was that pair of socks that helped switch one vote and give me the opportunity that would change my life.
When I got to Slippery Rock, I wasn’t exactly a sociable individual. In an attempt to branch out, I joined the same fraternity as my neighbors down the hall: Kappa Sigma. While I didn’t turn into a social butterfly, I did meet some of my best friends, learn to be a leader and join a group of men I was proud to call my family. Overall, it is easy to say it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. Chris Gordon, one of my new brothers and someone who couldn’t have been more supportive of me, helped me get my foot in the door at The Rocket and start my career as a student journalist, something I will never be able to thank him for enough.
After a good amount of luck, some semblance of skill and a patriotic pair of socks, I started my role as multimedia editor with a lot of new ideas and a lot less experience. Over the next two years, I developed my skills as a videographer and a journalist. I learned more than I could have imagined and failed a good number of times along the way as well.
Without the encouragement of Cody Nespor, the story would have ended. I never thought I would be qualified to lead this amazing organization, and to be honest, I’m still not sure that I am.
This year, The Rocket completely redesigned our print layout. We updated our website to a more modern design. The adverting department now not only has social media and web ads but another staff member to help sell them. We are closer with WSRU-TV than ever before, and our staffers are reaching outside the box to create amazing page designs and multimedia pieces. Our staff editorials have won awards and, even more importantly, spoke the truth to those who needed to hear it, although they didn’t always listen. Most importantly, this staff has produced some amazing pieces of journalism and told the stories of the members of this community at a level I would never dream of being able to match. All that being said, I could not be more proud to have been here to see this amazing group of people make it all happen.
I’m not afraid to leave; Adam is a great friend and will be an amazing leader. Hannah will continue to produce amazing work in whatever medium she decides to master next. I have no doubts that Karl will continue to tell the stories of our student-athletes with writing skill I would be lucky to match before I retire. Hope has grown more than anyone else on staff this semester and will make an amazing editor. There is no one I would prefer to be taking our advertising section to the next level over Nicole; her passion for the paper and willingness to learn is going to turn advertising into the section it should be.
For all the graduating seniors, thank you. I cannot express how much the welcoming environment and the family I have found here has meant to me. I can’t imagine a life without The Rocket but soon I will have to.
By no means am I afraid to leave, but I am sad. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but if the work I get to do in the future is half as fun, fulfilling and important as the work done by The Rocket staff, I will be very lucky.