One of my editors asked me, “Do you think that our newspaper is a good one?”
I hesitated a moment before I answered.
In that moment, I knew exactly where he was coming from. How could we, as a staff, be proud of the newspaper that we’re not sure other people even recognized? Of course people know we have a newspaper, but it’s hard to tell with the overflowing issues that are piled in the NAB.
In that moment, which probably only lasted a second or two, I realized that this idea of being proud of this newspaper is something that reflects my entire four years at this university.
For four years, I crept in shadows.
I don’t talk much.
It takes a lot for people to really get to know me. Quite frankly, anyone reading this that has known me for the past four years is probably nodding his or her head in agreement. In reality, I’m not sure why I’m like this. It’s just how I am and it’s how I’ve been.
Despite my shyness, I have always been a hard worker. My work ethic never suffered from me keeping to myself. My shyness did, however, give me reason to believe that no one knew who I was on this campus.
I felt for too long what my editor felt when he asked me if our newspaper was a good one.
In recent weeks, I’ve been humbled by campus acknowledgement. I was nominated for a Maddy Award and I even won Coaches’ Award for my soccer team. In those moments, I realized that my hard work was not overlooked by the rest of the campus community.
There’s a great quote that goes: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Lately, I’ve been realizing more and more exactly what this quote means.
Being the quiet type hasn’t gotten in my way of being recognized, but maybe – just, maybe – it has gotten in the way of bigger, greater things.
Maybe if I stop being so shy, I’d have the confidence to do greater things.
If I stop being so shy, I will do greater things.
If I stop being so shy, I’ll start living.
It’s funny that it took me four years to acknowledge this.
These past four years, in a strange way, were exactly what I needed. I needed to creep in the shadows. And, I needed to be recognized after doing so.
This all made me realize that the things I’ve done were good, but they could have been greater.
But, I don’t think in any way that I’ve failed.
On the contrary, I think by realizing this, I’ve succeeded.
Back to what my editor asked, I don’t care if the newspaper rack in the NAB is overflowing.
Because I know that people are recognizing the work we do week after week on this newspaper – even if it might take a while for us to recognize that. The late nights in the newspaper office, the missed deadlines, the pulling of teeth… they’re all worth it because we, as a staff, have grown. We, as journalists, have grown. I’m certain of this because we are sending our members to places: to Columbia and The New School graduate schools; to Cosmopolitan Magazine; and to amazing internships (i.e., MTV Networks, SiriusXM Radio – to name a few).
So, of course, I answered my editor, “We’re not just good, we’re great.”
And, just like our newspaper is great, our graduating class of 2013 is great.
We’re all going different places. But, we all started in the same place. And guess what, class? We’re graduating.
Saying this makes me terrified and excited all at the same time. This sounds cliché, but I don’t think there’s another more perfect way to describe graduating.
Everyone in this class is different; no two of us are the same. But, we all had similar experiences here at FDU. In the past four years, FDU has provided us with semester after semester of memories. We’ve had our fair share of great times and our fair share of bad times.
We’ve all made some unforgettable friends, most of whom we consider family. We’ve all had that one roommate we couldn’t stand. We’ve all walked the “walk of shame.” We’ve all suffered from an all-nighter just to finish that paper we should have started when our professor told us to (OK, maybe we’ve had a few of those). We’ve all been to at least one PSK party, or we’ve all had a friend who went to one and wouldn’t shut up about how much fun it was. We’ve all been to DHTH – probably more than once. We’ve all ordered Cluck-U late in the night because the Grill was no longer open.
If we were athletes, we all had that one workout we dreaded or that 6 a.m. alarm we hated to set. If we were athletes, we all teared up at the thought of retiring our jerseys at the end of the season.
Athlete or not, we can all look back and realize that these moments were the times of our lives.
And by “we,” I don’t mean all kids on campus. By we, I mean the Class of 2013. I mean, the kids who’ve been on this campus for the past four years and who are now scrambling to get ready for the real world, which – in my opinion – is approaching much too quickly.
As these last two weeks of school unravel, we will keep getting more scared. Chances are, we will want this semester to never end (but at the same time we will count down the days for exams to be over and for college to be done).
But, despite all of this, we shouldn’t be scared.
We have to be excited and we have to be ready.
The world is at our fingertips and lies before us all at the same time.
Graduating, in a way, is leaving our comfort zone.
Our comfort zone being FDU: our home for the past four years; our home with a – at times – dysfunctional family. We’re leaving our comfort zone but leaving in anticipation of the rest of our lives. We’re not just finishing a semester and getting ready to get our diploma – we are getting ready to live.
If I leave this campus with any sense of wisdom, I strongly encourage living the rest of our lives with passion: the passion to be noticed, the passion to be recognized, the passion to do what we love and the passion to be the best we can be. This way, we can give ourselves the opportunities to do not only good… but great things.