Cardinal Rule Managing Editor
From the time I first became a member of the Tropolitan staff in fall 2012, I have occasionally found myself wondering how I would go about writing this, and despite all the things I’ve learned during my time here I am still not sure how to condense the past five years of my life into a few hundred words.
For me, college wasn’t so much about starting the next phase of my life as it was ending the prior phase, and I would like to think that I’m not in the minority in that regard. But I got so caught up in getting away that I didn’t put much thought into what I would do once I was here, which leads me to my first piece of advice.
Whether you’re 17 or 27, college should be about bettering yourself. That process is different for everyone. There isn’t a wrong way to go about it. Odds are you got here on your own; so when things get tough don’t forget that.
Being born in Las Vegas had a huge impact on my life, and although it has been a while since I’ve been back home that type of atmosphere made it difficult to appreciate living in the South.
I have a theory that you can gauge the quality of a city by the number of McDonald’s it has, and Troy has one. I haven’t done the research to validate that, but that didn’t stop me from writing off the city of Troy for the majority of my time here. If I have any regrets about my time as a Trojan that is it, and it is also brings me to my second piece of advice.
The size of Troy leaves a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. It took me a while to realize that, and I let it affect my college experience in the process.
Make the most out of whatever situation you find yourself in. A positive attitude can go a long way if you let it. It isn’t often that life will be ideal, and you will be a lot happier and sane if you make the best out of each day you’re lucky enough to see.
There isn’t enough white space on this page to thank all of the people who have had an influence on me over the years, but I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t start with Andrew Clay, former sports editor. Despite all the back and forth between us and what some people may consider a combustible friendship, we both know it was all in fun.
Looking back, I can’t imagine missing out on all the good times and life lessons the Trop has given me. I consider my time involved with this place as one of the best experiences I’ve had, and I have you to thank for that. I learned a lot from you over the years both as a journalist and a man, and I’m proud to call you a friend and mentor.
From time to time, I’ve also worked with TrojanVision and as a broadcast major that was invaluable to me, but the Trop will always be home for me. I was fortunate to be a part of its growth.
This leads me to my third piece of advice: take advantage of new opportunities and experiences when they are presented to you.
It took some persistence from Clay to get me on board, but once I did, I never looked back. Grades matter, but college is about more than your grade-point average, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
As happy as I am to get my degree, I’d be lying if I said I’m not going to miss this place.
I bounced around a lot growing up, I lived in a dozen cities with a handful of different family members over the years, and if there is a place in Alabama I consider home it would have to be Troy. Getting to this point was quite the journey, and while I can’t mention my entire family, I know I never would have made it if wasn’t for my brothers.
Tim, if you wouldn’t have taken me in all those years ago, I’m not even sure I’d know my family today, and I am forever grateful for that although it may not seem like it from time to time.
Daniel, I’m not really sure where to start. I know our relationship hasn’t always been great since I moved out, but regardless of what has happened you have been the only constant in my life, and I can’t begin to express how much that still means to me.
Mom, I’m so happy to still have you in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to walk across that stage next month with you watching. You mean the world to me and don’t you forget it.
My fraternity brothers deserve a shout-out as well. I’m proud to be a member of Pi Kappa Phi, and you guys are just as much my family as my blood. I may not be on campus anymore, but I’m never too far to give me a call if you need anything.
The victory lap that has been my fifth year is coming to a close, and it’s time to start the next chapter of my life. God willing, I’ll look back on this one day and feel the same way I do as I’m writing it down.
Beginning college can feel like the first time you try to swim on your own; you jump into life as an adult with a lot of uncertainty just trying to calmly tread the water.
The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life, it bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.
I am a proud Trojan, and I will never forget what that means.