Chief Copy Editor
Troy alumna and former Tropolitan Editor-in-Chief Savannah Harrison moved more than 2,500 miles from Auburn to Redmond, Washington, to take a job with the Xbox community support team.
For Harrison, the job is a fulfillment of lifelong loves for writing and video games. Harrison said life on the other side of the continent has been enjoyable, if a major adjustment.
“There is a lot of anxiety and confusion that comes along with moving to a place that is completely unfamiliar to you,” she said. “There are a little hiccups throughout. I went to a Wal-Mart with only groceries and thought ‘Where is all the rest of the stuff?’”
Harrison grew up in Brewton, which she said helped shape her into the person she is today. She said this in part because of the people she knew there, but also because of the urge to try something new after living in a small town.
“I was very lucky to have incredible teachers. I always had these mentors that thought you should go out and explore,” she said.
Harrison said her love for gaming and writing started at an early age. According to Harrison, her gaming habits were influenced partly by her older brother.
“There were Christmases when he would get the Super Nintendo and I would get the Barbie doll,” she said. She said she wanted to play the games herself and had to find sneaky ways to do so.
“I beat my first game 15 minutes at a time,” she said. Harrison explained that she would sneak into her brother’s room to play games before he got home from school, then, when she heard him pull up, she would run back to her room.
This continued until her parents caught on and began buying her games. She then began gaming without hiding and never stopped.
Harrison said writing was something that interested her from as early as she can remember.
“My mom and dad would always tell me stories, so I guess I picked it up that way,” she said. “In middle school is when I really got into it.
“I have always been drawn to words and what words can do and the meaning they can convey.”
She also said that not only does she enjoy writing, but also telling other people’s stories. This led her to pursue a degree in journalism, but Harrison took an extra step to further her writing skills by minoring in creative writing.
Moving to Washington was not Harrison’s first time branching out, trying something new and unfamiliar. She said her decision to attend Troy was made in part because of the desire to meet new people and distance herself from familiarity in order to grow as a person.
“My classmates were primarily going to Alabama or Auburn,” she said. “I just really wanted to go out on my own.”
Once in Troy, Harrison began at the Tropolitan before she even started classes by attending Camp Trop.
“I remember walking in and feeling a little awkward because I didn’t know anyone, but I never left,” she said.
From then on she stayed involved with the Tropolitan and eventually rose to an assistant editor position for Arts and Entertainment. From that position she jumped straight to editor-in-chief of the Tropolitan her senior year.
“My rise to editor – it wasn’t just on me. I had a lot of student mentors and professors to give me the push and support I needed,” Harrison said.
She decided in her later years at school that she wanted to continue pursuing more writing skills at a higher level, so she went to graduate school at Auburn University. Two more years later she held a master’s degree in English.
While in graduate school, Harrison said, she worked both as a teaching assistant for a world literature class and as a teacher for composition classes. During her two-year stay, she balanced lesson plans, teaching and grading papers with her own classes, writings and studies. She also worked on a literary journal and on an ongoing e-portfolio project for Auburn.
“I tended to build my classes around new media, so we would study music videos or trailers or how video games were changing the classroom,” she said.
After graduating from Auburn, she ended up receiving a job in Alexander City with Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. as the assistant editor of the magazines Lake, Lake Martin and Elmore County Living.
Harrison said she discovered a job opportunity in Washington, applied for it and received it at the end of last year. She moved just a few weeks after receiving the job.
She now works on Twitter interacting with the Xbox community. She said that her time at Troy greatly helped her in this new job for many reasons — including teaching her to put as much useful information as possible in a limited space.
She said she is thankful for the lessons learned and people she met at Troy University and left a bit of advice.
“If you’re offered an opportunity, don’t disregard it just because you’re afraid,” she said. “Always care about the work you are doing, and know that other people are noticing and have fun.”