I’ve been not-so-secretly dreading this day for months now—the day that I crack my knuckles and sit down at my laptop to write my last piece for the Eagle Eye.
My formal introduction to the newspaper was kind of like a haphazard drunken encounter at a bar with the cute girl from class. I’d seen the newspaper. I’d tossed around the idea of writing. I’d been approached by former Editor-in-Chief Lyndsey Hewitt—before she was EIC—with an open invitation to write or take pictures for the paper. And I wanted to, wanted it bad.
But admittedly, I was intimidated. And scared.
Bet you didn’t expect that to come out of my mouth.
So I had to be introduced to the newspaper by a friend.
It was sometime later, after I’d found my footing a little more, when, as luck would have it, one of my fellow Writing Center tutors happened to also be starting out that fall as the Eagle Eye’s new Opinion Editor (I think I have another former Editor-in-Chief, Erin Tierney to thank for wrangling English majors into the newspaper)..
I’m not sure if it was a moment of lunacy, desperation or genius that came over then Opinion Editor Nico Salvatori the first time I complained about something and he fed me some version of his classic “that sounds like an opinion to me” line. Regardless, it was a moment that changed and shaped my life over the almost three years that have since followed.
I went home and wrote my first opinion piece that night. I tried way too hard and got a response to the effect of “write it like you told me.” So I did and it was published. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was good enough that it prompted my writing nearly every week that year. When the year was up and it was time for the reins had to change hands, they were faithfully placed in mine.
Brace for cheesiness, because here it comes…
I really can’t imagine my life the last two years without the Eagle Eye. The people and personal stuff aside, I have learned so much more than I can begin to discuss, the most important of which has been how to trust myself and become someone who I can be proud to be. Having to conjure up an opinion every week for a public sphere has made me a better and more conscientious person.
I’ve also had the unique opportunity to watch my words get tossed out into the public and make a difference. For example, last fall I wrote and published a piece about the rape of a Bloomsburg University student and its gross mishandling by local hospital staff. The piece made its way to the women’s center there and sparked meetings between the hospital staff and advocates from the center. I still don’t have the words to convey how that made me feel—immensely humbled is an understatement; empowered is somewhere in there definitely.
Anyway, I suppose it’s no wonder why I’m feeling a little bittersweet right now, writing now, composing my final words, the last bit of journalism before my undergraduate career is over.
I found my voice and unearthed a lot of my identity here at the Eagle Eye. It seems silly now that I was ever scared to jump in; I’ve tried to communicate that to everyone I come across who has something to say, but is too afraid to say it.
Jade Nelson is an amazingly gifted young lady, who has already been behind a great deal of what you’ve seen published this semester. Aaron Fleegle is likewise an intelligent and talented young man. The Opinion section rests in good hands with them.
And while the end of my time here may be nigh, the opportunity lives on for all of you. Try your hands at a little public discourse. Take a leap. Be the change you wish to see. How do you know what you have to say if you never actually get around to saying it?
Raise up and find your voice. And don’t ever let anyone silence it.
See y’all in the real world.