When I first joined The Sandspur as a freelance writer, it was a way for me to build up my portfolio and gain writing experience for the future. I am happy to say that it has become much more than that.From freelance writer to staff member, I’m honored to have been a part of such a strongly connected group of people who truly care about Rollins and the work they do. Everyone puts in their all to make The Sandspur successful and I’ve seen it from the very beginning. I loved reading everyone’s pieces and then seeing it all being put together into the creative work that these papers are. Every member of the team has given all their love to create something unique together and share it with our peers and beyond. I’m so happy to have witnessed the magic and to have been a part of it behind the scenes.
Thank you to The Sandspur and thank you to Rollins for allowing me this opportunity. Yes, I’ve gained valuable experience for the future, but I’ve also gained much more than that, and I’ll never regret it.
by: Minoska Hernandez
After three years as a tour guide, I have told hundreds of people about why I chose Rollins. My story stays the same: it was the only school I visited that I could picture myself studying at. But that is not necessarily the reason why I chose to stay. Like many others do in their freshman year, I once considered transferring. As someone who has lived in different cities and different countries, I am well aware that moving to a new place, although hard, is not impossible. Replacing people, on the other hand, most certainly is.
I found my people at Rollins. Human beings who are kind, generous, smart, funny, and passionate about what they do. People who genuinely believe they can help the world. I found them in my classes, in my RCC, in The Sandspur, and in my sorority. It is easy to dismiss people at Rollins, especially during such divisive times as these. “People suck,” is actually one of my life mantras, because a lot of times people are just genuinely terrible. But other times they can be amazing—capable of fascinating conversations, boundless compassion, and even the cleverest of sarcasm (which is not an inferior form of humor). I would like to channel the spirit of Fox Day friendliness and say thank you for your friendship.
In my four years at Rollins, I rarely felt as productive as when designing for The Sandspur. It’s all about that immediate gratification: I create something that is immortalized in print only a few days later (even if it is not all that great). But The Sandspur is not really just about the newspaper. It also about the people behind it as well. A staff that is not only extremely funny, but also smart and passionate about what happens – not just in Rollins, but also in the world. Thank you to this amazing team for being who they are, despite how weird they can get, and for making my Monday nights all the more enjoyable. It has been such a blessing to work by your side.
To the Rollins students who actually read The Sandspur (yes, all ten of you): thank you for not letting your fellow students’ work go to waste. Newspapers are a way to encapsulate moments in time; I know I remember some memorable editions from my freshman and sophomore years.
To the rest of you (who most certainly will not read this): the best of luck. College is said to be the best four years of your life, which is something I am about to discover whether is true or false. I hope that, at the very least, you enjoy yours as much as I have enjoyed mine.
by: Victoria Villavincencio
As my final year at Rollins comes to a close, this is the third reflective piece of writing I’ve had to do—and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Although, really, it’s never felt as if I’ve ever had to do anything for The Sandspur. From day one it was a choice. It was a choice to heave myself up those five flights of stairs every Monday for Article Assignment.
It was a choice to keep coming back even after I wasn’t selected to be a copy editor my first semester. It was a choice to apply to be Head Copy Editor when I was only a rising sophomore. And it was one heck of a choice when Lauren Skyped me while I was abroad last spring and asked me to be her Managing Editor for this academic year.
The most important choice of all was choosing to follow through with it every week, every day.
The Sandspur played an important part in shaping me as a writer. I learned that if you exclusively think of news as dry and boring, then… your articles are going to come out dry and boring. News isn’t just information scrolling past on a television screen. It starts with what our eyes see, the reactionary thoughts produced by our brains, and then the critical observations and dialogues that come out of our mouths. We—people-—are at the center of news, and articles will always be infinitely more interesting if they stay true to that fact. I try not to write about events that take place, but about the people that made those events a reality in the first place. Journalisms isn’t newscasting; it’s storytelling.
I’ve learned to be unabashed in sharing my writing, thoughts, and ideas with the campus. I learned how to brazenly share those ideas effectively.
As my role in this paper grew to more and more of an executive level, I started seeing the value in every piece of information that passed me by in the whirlwind of day-to-day. The words “Ah, that would make a good article” became a favorite flavor on the tip of my tongue. I sought to give our paper the best, and to help our staff realize that our paper deserved the best.
As a freshman I came to The Sandspur and found role models; as a senior I didn’t think that anyone would ever come to the office and find me as any sort of role model.
But I look at the faces around the table during Article Assignment stuffing their mouths with pizza, avoiding direct eye contact with me as I pester them to commit to an article, and I feel the warmth of students who have found a home in our attic, despite my awkward leadership.
I couldn’t have chosen anything better.
by: Alexandra Mariano
I found my way to the Sandspur office as a wee freshman for the first article assignment of year, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and found my tribe. They were weird, a little cynical, and had heated debates about the Oxford comma. The Sandspurians also pushed for honesty, quality, and integrity, something that we’ve tried to uphold above all else.
Now more than ever these components are crucial, not just in how we publish papers but in how we conduct ourselves. We fail ourselves when we don’t tell the truth (or fail to gather all of our facts). We fail ourselves when we do mediocre work if our best can be achieved. We fail ourselves if we put anything above the strength of our character.
My parents, who are also my two biggest cheerleaders and motivators, imparted to me that integrity is the only thing that is truly ours in this life. This is something that my fellow newspaper dweebs have understood. The last few years have made me incredibly proud of our staff and the work that has been poured into each issue.
I so look forward to seeing what the incoming staff has to offer as we leave our legacy in more than capable hands (Go Ellie!).
I hope that I’ve given to the Rollins community a fraction of what I have received in my time here. I have felt mentored and uplifted at the times I most needed it. When your own family is a few thousand miles away it’s a blessing to have a surrogate one so close by.
Thank you, Tars, for shaping me to be the okay punk I am today. Fiat Lux.
by: Lauren Waymire
On the first day of my freshman year, I walked up the intimidating five floors of the Mills Building to enter The Sandspur office for the first time.
As usual, there were a ton of people at the first meeting and a white board full of ideas. I signed up to write a piece–—I think it was on freshman orientation—which was frankly so bad the staff at the time didn’t even publish it online, much less in print.
Undeterred, I started taking the pieces that literally no one else wanted to write: campus news. I quickly became better at reporting and interviewing for these pieces, putting large amounts of time into some of the most boring (but informative!) articles your lovely student newspaper publishes.
I worked my way up to being Editor in Chief last year, which is something I did not think I was capable of, but somehow managed to pull off passably well.
To me, my greatest accomplishment as the leader of this newspaper was refocusing us even more to fulfill our motto, “Everything Real. Everything Rollins,” by publishing campus news and events in a timely fashion.
We still have a long way to go, but the growth that I have seen at The Sandspur over my four years has been incredible. Reciprocally, my growth has been more than I ever thought possible—I have changed from a shy freshman into a campus leader and writer, and I have developed my own voice and learned to trust that I have something to say.
To next year’s executive staff: you all will do amazing and wonderful things. I have amazing faith in each and every one of you.
Ellie, you will do a phenomenal job as Editor. It’s not an easy job, I know, but just yell at people and send passive aggressive emails, and you will be fine. Sianna, you will kick ass. I don’t really have anything else to say. You know how highly I think of you. Rebecca, you are a fantastic editor and will be a Head Copy Editing Rock Star. Just do me a favor and remember the Oxford comma and to Italicize ALL movie titles.
This is my 100th article for this paper, not counting the first one they didn’t publish. I have loved every single one of them, and every single person I’ve worked with.
You all have made my time at Rollins wonderful.
by: Micah Bradley
I joined The Sandspur my freshman year at to please a cute classmate I was attempting to woo. Little did I know I would spend the next five semesters working and interning for the paper. I began as a simple section editor, quietly working every Monday and attempting to avoid the wrath of then Editor-in-Chief Greg Matteson. Over time, my confidence and appreciation for the paper grew and I began to write articles for the paper.
My sophomore year, I became the news editor for The Sandspur and my appreciation for the paper reached its peak. I got to dive deep into the paper and get a hands-on feel for how to cover organizations on campus. Moreover, writing for the paper has given my the confidence to express my opinion, even on controversial issues.
But the thing I enjoyed the most and will miss above all else is the people. I’ve had so many good times with the people who dedicate their precious time to keeping the Rollins community informed and entertained. To the future of the paper, best of luck. You are all talented, wonderful individuals who will elevate the publication to even greater heights. I look forward to reading your work.
by: Eric Hilton
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