I sent in my application and first articles for The Sandspur the summer before my first year, thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work at a newspaper. There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your name in print for the first time.
Since those first articles, I have had over 100 articles printed in The Sandspur—more than anyone in recent history. I have wrote articles, taken pictures, section edited, copy edited, attempted to sell advertisements, delivered the paper, sent out too many emails, posted on and created many social media pages—I have done everything at least once, except design the paper, as our wonderful design staff rightly do not let me near InDesign until our pages are laid out.
I created the website that The Sandspur uses today—the website that receives 16,000 views a month, thank you very much—and sent you all those obnoxious “This Week at The Sandspur” emails. You think the number of Sandspur emails you receive a week is too much? Try being one of our staff writers. I inundate them with emails almost daily depending the time of year.
Sandspur, I want to be honest: I have not always agreed with you. You have given me many headaches and a few migraines over our four years. I debated quitting you more times than I can count, often frustrating friends and family who told me repeatedly to give up something that I always complained about being so frustrating, stressful, annoying, and—sometimes, I will admit—embarrassing.
But, Sandspur, as much as I have complained about you, you have also kept me sane.
The newspaper was always there for me. It was the constant in my life that served as a distraction from homework, readings, and other organizations. Some job always needed to be done; some deadline always had to be met. The Sandspur allowed me to run my work ethic ragged while attempting to improve Rollins in my own small way.
Just as so many people say in these types of things, I met so many different people I never would have met if I had not worked at the newspaper. I created friendships that honestly, may or may not last, and memories that will last at least until I can list my first real job on my resume. I do not know if The Sandspur made me a better person over the last four years, though I like to think so. At the very least, it let me begin to understand myself a bit better.
So, Sandspur, Rollins, loyal readers, however many or few of you there are, I bid you “adieu.” It has been a very interesting four years. For those of you who consider college the best four years of your life, these years will go by way too fast. For those of you who cannot wait to graduate, these years will go by at a glacial pace. Regardless, they will pass. Make the most of them, make the least of them, but make something of them—even if that something is 60-something copies of an award-winning student newspaper.
– Annamarie Carlson
Those who claim to be the least judgmental, often tend to be the antithesis of that idea in practice. In my time at Rollins, I have found this to be pervasively true in numerous ways. Over the past four years here, I have grown up more than many people do in a decade. I am someone who has had to be mature since day one, due to being dealt a less than perfect set of cards in life—the kind of growing up that goes beyond just leaving home for the first time. While I would like to go on and on about how Rollins has shaped me into some sort of hyper amazing human being, that just is not the case.
Rollins has afforded me an incredible education from professors with whom I have been fortunate enough to make invaluable personal connections. As both a political science and anthropology major, I have developed an appreciation for certain aspects of life, literature, and knowledge that I never would have experienced if it were not for the professors who made these subjects jump off the pages of my textbooks and scream to be taken in. This is where my affinity ends, though.
Yes, I wrote the controversial article in 2011 about “illegal immigrants” when I was nineteen and still a freshman that had yet to experience much of a college education. While an entire student body, and even a portion of the country, made disparaging comments at my expense, few admirable people (that I still remember) stopped to realize the harm that was coming from the entire situation. Yes, I worded my opinion severely strongly and went against the mainstream views of the Rollins campus, but it was an opinion, something that innately cannot be “right” or “wrong.” While this opinion came from a nineteen-year-old college student, it somehow found itself up for debate with two doctorate-bearing professors of Rollins, who felt it necessary to take to campus-wide emails to get their points across rather than resorting to the comparable measure of submitting letters to the editor. Students at this time did not have the ability to send campus-wide emails like professors could, thus I could not submit an analogous response to the student body.
After working through these issues throughout my college education, I will admit that the opinion I wrote about three years ago goes staunchly against how I feel today. I certainly did not come to this conclusion because of the outcry the original article garnished; in fact the reason I never publicly refuted the opinion was because of the initial defensiveness I felt from being viciously backed into a corner by people who claimed to support minority opinions and fighting against oppression.
Years later, a select few on our campus still seem to cling to this image of me because of their unsubstantiated ideas and an op-ed I wrote during my freshman year. As dim-witted as this may be, what bothers me even more is how many of these same people use this estimation to gauge the legitimacy of The Sandspur as a whole. Just as I have matured during these past years, so has The Sandspur. Instead of evolving as this publication and I have, these lingering opinions have shown how some sections of our campus remain less than understanding and reluctant to forgive. If the earth-shattering opinion I once defended can change, why can’t yours?
– Jamie Lee Pizzi
Gingerly creeping up to The Sandspur’s former office for their first meeting of the semester, my naïve freshman self could not have imagined the opportunities that were waiting for me after I entered that room. I will never forget my first “assignment” for the paper. I was given free tickets (Free tickets?! My high school paper only dreamed of those…) for the Matt Hires concert at The Social. I even got to interview him backstage! It was then that I realized the power and influence The Sandspur had at Rollins and in the local community. Since then, I have had the privilege of interviewing more artists, including Grammy winner Paula Cole, and many other talented, respected people in the community.
I have seen many changes at Rollins over the past four years—the new Bush Science Center, the changing of Mills Lawn to “The Green” (sorry, Rollins, I do not think that will ever catch on), the alterations to Fox Day celebrations, the creation and controversy over the College of Professional Studies, to name a few—and The Sandspur was there to cover them all. I may be in the minority of those students who waited for those issues of The Sandspur to receive all the dirt, but to me the most important news perspective was always that of the students.
I do not think that people appreciate the advantages of student media nearly enough. It is one of the few places untainted by corporate media, a safe place where students are able to speak their mind and not fear any censorship. As the resident PR intern, I can appreciate that The Sandspur does not represent the public relations of Rollins, and we are proud of that. Never again will I have the opportunity to so easily publish my opinions or spread a cause that concerns me.
Whenever I need to say goodbye to a place that I am so fond of, I like to use one of my favorite quotes from my favorite book, Demian: “One never reaches home. But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.” The Sandspur gave me a voice when sometimes I did not feel like I had one at Rollins, and for that I will always be grateful.
– Lauren Silvestri
Photo by Scott Cook; Illustration by David Matteson
The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur, its staff or Rollins College.