It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in nine months. My office is as packed as it was before I spent two days cleaning it out almost a year ago.
I’m thorough, though, and the piles of pamphlets, promotional materials, 3-month-old copies of the Dothan Eagle, chocolate and nerf darts are rapidly being sorted and removed.
I’m left to wonder what will remain of my time as editor-in-chief once I’m gone.
It’s an honor to be the top dog at The Tropolitan, but prestige and legacy are short-lived in the world of college news. As it should be.
I don’t know who was editor-in-chief 20 years ago. I don’t know who had my job six years ago. I could find out, but chances are, I’d know them only as a name on a page. Their accomplishments would be foreign to me.
It’s good for the paper. It protects against sacred cows. It’s hard to be sentimental about decisions made by people you’ve never met.
It’s also good for us outgoing folks. It forces us to be less concerned with legacy and more concerned with what we can do now and what we’ll take with us when the paper leaves us behind.
I hope we’ve served the students well. If we’ve done that, we’ve accomplished something.
I’ve put aside a stack of newspapers with extra copies of favorites.
I’ve also got a few great stories, some decent ones in print and some funny ones to tell later on.
Thursday nights will be a source of warm memories for years to come. The tradition outdates my time at the Trop considerably. When I started, Thursday night’s company included former A&E editors Jonathan Bryant and Zach Winslett, current A&E editor Kianna Collins, our chief copy editor Laura Hutto and me. Former graphic designer Carson Brown joined us in the fall of 2013, and the form has been mostly the same since.
The current incarnation is similar: Collins, Hutto, chief-copy-editor-to-be Thomas Gleaton and me.
The company rotates, usually a few new faces at the table, ever a source of good conversation.
Professionally, I have learned as much from Thursday nights as I have from Wednesday layouts and hundreds of hours of classwork.
Personally, they all know I think fondly of them and don’t go in for mush.
I’m also profoundly proud of some of the work we’ve done while I’ve been here.
April Irvin, our photography editor, who often reminds me that she’s not a journalist, did an off-the-cuff interview with Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. on my watch.
I count that a victory.
It seems unfair not to name-drop everyone I’ve ever worked with at the Trop, but a journalist is concise.
I’ve made mistakes during my time at Troy University. A lot of mistakes, actually, but regret doesn’t accomplish much.
I’ve enjoyed college, and it wouldn’t be the same without a few inciting mistakes.
I’d be doing a lot of good friends a disservice not to mention the innumerable hours spent in the Trojan Center.
As a shy freshman, I didn’t expect to find much in the way of friendship in college.
Instead, I learned what friendship really is from the loud, sarcastic, disagreeable herd of misfits with whom I hogged the TC’s couches and armchairs my first three years of college. Again, there are too many good friends to list, but Reid “Sawcy” Potts, Matt “Default” Holmes, Devin Holmes and Chris “Good Guy” Griggs deserve to stretch my word count.
I’ve learned a great deal from friends, often more than I can admit without bruising my ego, but the alleged purpose of the university is for unlearned minds to learn from the learned.
The way I think, my approach to learning and to living, has been undeniably benefited by my professors.
Of particular note are James F. R. Day, Peter Howard and Steve Stewart. These three are responsible for about half the credit hours I’ve taken at Troy.
Also worth mentioning are Allen Jones, whose Western Civ classes almost wooed me into a history major; Doc Kirby, who helped me find my public voice; and Sam Shelton, who managed to make me look forward to a four-day-a-week summer class in a building with frequently failing air conditioning.
As a last note, to the paper that will soon leave me behind, I’ve got one more quote from Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post.
“The real spiel I have for you is to have a good time while you are in your jobs,” Bradlee said. “Have a good time. The newspaper will be great if you’re having a good time.”