Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found comfort in reading. I remember being about six years old and writing little stories on post-it notes, forcing my family to read them (not that they were very intriguing, as I could barely write). They indulged me, thinking it was cute but not something that would stick with me my whole life. As I got older, I never thought I could go into a career where that passion, that drive, could be something I got to experience every day. I’m never happier than when I’m reading.
I was discouraged by countless people when I told them I wanted to make a career by pursuing an English degree. The Rocket staff were people I could count on – people who encouraged me to do what I wanted to do, not what other people were trying to push on to me.
My experience at Slippery Rock has been a wild ride. I started off as an Exercise Science Major: sensible and practical. Until I found myself miserable two years later (as apparently, I very much do not enjoy math) and made the bold move to change my major not once, but twice. Let me tell you, my family was not pleased. But it was the best decision I could have ever made, as it led me to The Rocket and the wonderful people who helped encourage me to break out of my shell and become a part of something greater than myself.
I’ve been the Asst. Copy/Web editor for over a year and no other job has given me the joy that this one has. Passing on the baton will be a hard and bittersweet moment.
Hannah Shumsky, you’ve been an inspiring EIC. I’m not sure if I ever thanked you for what you did for me, but I will do so now with absolute sincerity. Thank you. If you never would have reached out and talked to me about applying to The Rocket, my life would be drastically different. It’s because of you that I discovered my love for editing stories. I honestly don’t know if I ever would have considered this as a career path if I had never met you. You changed my life for the better.
A little-known fact about me is that I only applied to one college way back when I was just a teenager in high school. As a 23-year-old woman, five whole years later, I can say with utter confidence that Slippery Rock has not failed me and I made the best decision when choosing who to trust with my education. Going to this school has brought me friends that will last a lifetime, professors who genuinely cared about my future and lessons I will never forget. These experiences forged me into the person I am now and I can say that I am proud of who I have become.
So thank you, Slippery Rock. Thank you for giving me some of the best years of my life. I put my faith in you and I was not let down.
I will be graduating soon and I can scarcely believe it. In many ways, I still feel like a freshman, frightened yet excited by the journey ahead of me. This is not an end to a story, but simply a new chapter in my life. I will take with me lessons I have learned from all of you, especially my teammates on The Rocket staff. I promise to always do my best in my work, to encourage and check in on my teammates and friends, to never be afraid to speak my mind and pursue my dreams.