Allison Downs has served as the news editor of The Rocket this past year. While she originally applied for assistant news editor for her senior year, she was hired as the news editor, leading the section alongside assistant Nina Cipriani during a difficult transition year for The Rocket.

When I transferred to Slippery Rock University in 2017, I struggled a lot. It was difficult for me to make friends and my grades were less than great. I questioned my decision to transfer at least eight times a day — I even considered transferring again.  

Everything took a turn for the better, though, during the second semester of my junior year. I was in Dr. Harry’s Advanced Journalistic Writing and Reporting class with about half of The Rocket staff. At the beginning of the semester, I didn’t know just how big their impact would be on me. I only knew that I enjoyed working with them and looked forward to that class because of them. 

Before I met them, I’d questioned everything: my decision to transfer, my major. Working with them was the affirmation and encouragement I needed, though. Every time they told me my writing was good, I only became more determined to be better, to be as good as them. 

At the end of the semester, three of them — Hannah Shumsky, Hope Hoehler and Adam Zook — basically circled around me and all told me that I needed to apply for the assistant news editor position at The Rocket. If it weren’t for them, I would’ve continued into my senior year, completed my requirements and earned my degree without doing anything really significant. 

A lot’s changed since May of last year, and I’ve struggled a lot, but looking back… I wouldn’t change any of the decisions I made. Transferring, declaring my major and joining The Rocket all led me to some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. Because of my decisions, I’ve found a second family.  

We’ve all been through so much together this past year. I’m so proud of the work I’ve done with The Rocket and the work we’ve done together, but I’m most proud of the lifelong friendships I’ve made. 

They’re what makes saying goodbye so bittersweet. I’m so grateful for them, and I’m going to miss them so much. This may sound very cliché, but I think Winnie the Pooh said it best: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 


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