Seven semesters; 3 1/2 years.
In my short 22 years, I’ve experienced a handful of lasts and final moments: 8th grade graduation, my last high school football and basketball games. Six months ago I experienced my final collegiate football game. I just put the last touches on my closing Spectator story and in ten days, I’ll walk across the stage inside Zorn Arena, officially concluding my college journey at UW-Eau Claire.
I’ve been lucky, though. I’ve been able to see the finish line coming for every final moment I listed above. I could prepare for them simply because I knew they were nearing.
Now I enter the real world, where there isn’t much preparing for any more final moments.
I don’t know how long I’ll be at a given job or the amount of time someone or something will be in my life anymore.
That is what makes penning my final Spectator piece, this very column, difficult to write, because the unpredictable future is waiting for me as soon as I power down my laptop tonight.
But I’m ready for it.
And I wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for my time at The Spectator or UW-Eau Claire.
Therefore, I want to thank everyone who helped me along the way.
My Blugold teammates, my second family at The Spectator, my family and my dear friends. If you are reading this, you know exactly what group you belong to, and I’m blessed that many of you fall into several.
Lastly, I thank The Spectator itself.
This 93-year-old publication gave me opportunities that changed my life forever and opened doors I never thought I could kick down.
From covering the men’s basketball team for the past three seasons, to the triple threat podcast I got to do alongside my friends for three fun years. It’s been a memorable, worthwhile and special time.
Spectator, I owe you everything, and someday I promise I’ll come back for you.
It all started when I was in sixth grade.
One day in my English class we were writing stories, and I wrote about my little league baseball game I had a few days prior. The following day our teacher gave students feedback on our work, and he let me know he felt my writing was going to take me somewhere.
Not only did he think I was an above-average writer, but he said when it came to sports, my writing was even stronger.
Now here I am 10 years removed from those memories, sitting in front of a computer in a quiet Spectator office reminiscing about my time with the small student publication.
Ever since my sophomore year, The Spectator became a part of my life that has pushed me to become a better writer, editor, communicator and person in general. This publication even helped me land a part-time sports job during college with the Leader-Telegram.
Although my memories as a staff writer and as a copy editor stick out to me from my early years, my last two semesters in the sports editor position are what I will remember the most.
This past fall was my first semester in the position. I had some idea what to expect as a section editor, but I didn’t know everything. I also had big shoes to fill, following behind previous editors such as Ellis Williams and even former Devroy Fellow Nick Erickson.
Despite being unsure, I dove right in and took chances. I pitched out of the box story ideas to writers and made sure to keep writing for the section myself. Along with the writing and managing I did, I also grew as a page designer, which is a skill many students don’t have.
All things aside, the best part of sports over the years for me has been the relationships built. Whether it was with a coach and the individual players on a team while covering the beat, or simply with the students who wrote for me weekly.
I will never forget memories like covering a basketball game and writing a story on deadline immediately after, not leaving the office until 2 a.m. on deadline night, or simply the chills I got after looking at the sports section on a given Thursday after my work was finished.