Graduating seniors bid farewell to ‘The Sandspur’

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I originally wrote a nice anecdote that talked about how influential and amazing my time with The Sandspur has been, but then realized it sounded corny and just long… in truth, even I didn’t want to read that. Simply put, working here has been a great experience and I have learned more about myself by being a part of production.

I still suck at deadlines.

I cried on the 3rd floor of Mills beside David Matteson (editor-in-chief at the time) a few months after becoming a staff writer when I realized how much more college sucked after freshman year without the incessant buffers and cushions.

I began to like Domino’s pizza more, even though it still scrapes the walls of my stomach clean.

I walked into class my junior year knowing how to conduct a decent interview and what kinds of questions to ask. I learned more about this campus and its residents by asking about their stories. I earned a press pass to Hulaween that was never used because I was a careless sophomore, but had a press pass nonetheless.

I learned that I could survive the flight of stairs to the top floor of Mills much quicker than before.

I made cover stories and centerfolds and began reading The Sandspur more often because everyone had something to say that was worth hearing; The New York Times wasn’t the only newspaper I grabbed.

I went camping, and when I took off my shoes, I felt sandspurs prying blood from my feet. Why they chose this name for the paper years back, I will never know.

I learned that poetry could be news to more than just me. I didn’t have to fight to write about things that I thought were important. I saw puns and art sit next to world news. I got to be every weird 12-year-old I read about and envied in middle school novels, except better—I was writing for my college paper.

It’s been real and it’s been cool. Maybe I’ll get better at deadlines and being at a loss for words.

Either way, it’s been real cool. See ya later, Sandspur.

 

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I first got involved with working media during my year off from Rollins in 2011 writing for a South Florida music blog called Melodysiac. I initially started writing reviews as a way to stay productive while getting to experience as much music as possible.

When I returned to Rollins, I started a music column in The Sandspur because I wanted to expose as many of my peers to good music as possible and help foster a community of music fans. I called that column the ScoBeat and the public response has surpassed anything I have expected; I am so proud of the impact that it has had. The ScoBeat has become far more than my column in the paper. It is the rhythm that I live my life to. The ScoBeat is my multimedia persona; a fusion of my music column, radio show on WPRK, and my role with Fox Fest.

Student media helped me find my voice and make an impact. I spent my years at Rollins working tirelessly to improve the campus community and I am extremely proud to be able to have done so with events like Fox Fest and the WPRK Concert Series in the Annie Russell Theatre. My role in student media has provided me with great joy, but more importantly, it has enabled me to spread that joy with the community.

 

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Since I graduated from Rollins in December 2015, I have been made startlingly aware of all the extra time I now have.

When I was a full-time Holt student at Rollins, I was also working full time, had Sandspur stories to write, and working on my theater website, The Pickwyck. Every task I did had to be calculated well, even if it meant doing coursework on my lunch break or after midnight.

The first few months after graduating, I would just go home and do absolutely nothing.

Coworkers began to poke fun at me because I would log into Blackboard at work when there was no work due.

When I was asked to write this graduating senior goodbye, I procrastinated, not knowing what to say. I could not think what was worth saying in such a short space about my wonderful two years at Rollins.

Suddenly, I realized that all my new extra time was just an illusion, and that there is much work to be done; the only difference is, in the world outside Rollins, a professor does not assign it to you.

Gandalf from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

It is how we spend every waking moment that makes us who we are. Do we want to be the fish swimming with the current or the biggest fish in the pond, dreaming and unafraid to swim in bigger oceans?

Thank you, Rollins, for being a wonderful place to spend my evenings; every sunset I saw reminded me that a sunrise will always follow, to shed light on a new journey.

 

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 Writing my last article for The Sandspur is a bittersweet moment.

I am being hit with conflicting emotions of feeling nostalgic during my last weeks of college, but eager to start a new chapter of my life.

Mostly, I am proud of the person and writer that I have become and the staff that I have grown up with.

I stumbled into The Sandspur office my freshmen year too shy to pitch story ideas. I hardly spoke aloud at meetings and chose to express myself in writing instead.

My peer mentor encouraged me to join the staff and helped me grow into a confident editor throughout my sophomore and junior years.

Now, as a senior, I am managing the newspaper, and this office is one of my favorite places on campus.

I am going to miss everything: eating Domino’s during article assignment, getting frustrated with InDesign, stressing over cover art, writing last minute articles, and playing Beyoncé on full blast while making the paper.

I am going to miss our teddy bear mascot, calling Greg Golden our Sandspur Dad, and seeing the staff that has shaped my college career every week.

This paper has been a constant part of my Rollins experience, and it has enabled me to find my voice and confidence. It has taught me to believe in myself and to challenge myself.

Because of the wonderful people on staff, I was encouraged to be a peer mentor, to join a sorority, and to study abroad. If it wasn’t for The Sandspur, I never would have interned at The Independent in London or have landed a job at a TV station.

I got to write a story about Paul McCartney coming to Rollins and interview alumni who are now published novelists and entrepreneurs. I would have never been brave enough to take those risks or to branch out of my comfort zone without the opportunities and courage that The Sandspur has given me.

I will be eternally grateful for the support, laughs, fun times, life lessons, and pizza that I have received over these past four years.

For me, The Sandspur is more than a paper that comes out once a week.

It has been my home away from home. It has been a platform to express my creativity, a safe haven to feel comfortable in my own skin, and a place to grow into a leader like the leaders who inspired me during my time here. The staff has been the chosen family that I did not know I needed.

I consider myself fortunate to have found my anchor at Rollins, and I invite all of you readers to do the same.

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