Words are hard when you’re saying goodbye

Jessica Smith
Copy Editor

I’ve claimed Troy as my hometown for over 20 years, so I should probably know where the majority of important buildings are on campus. Troy’s not that big, after all.

Still, I managed to get lost on Troy’s campus a year and a half ago while looking for Camp Trop — the pre-semester workshop to prepare the Tropolitan staff. Even though I showed up late, awkwardly bumping someone in the leg with my bag as I conspicuously tried to be inconspicuous, nobody threw anything at me or kicked me out for being a dork — a tardy dork.

Instead, I found a community of people who didn’t mind giving me a down-and-dirty introduction to all aspects of journalism, of which I was completely ignorant even though I was going to be working on staff as a copy editor. All I knew was that I tend to be the kind of person to point out incorrect grammar and spelling on local business signs.

Working for a paper couldn’t be that different from correcting other people’s mistakes, right?

Wrong. My first night of layout, I’m pretty sure I forgot every rule of grammar I had ever learned. Was Trojan a noun or an adjective? Both? How even do you speak English?

Words were suddenly really hard for me to remember how to use. Fortunately, for both myself and the sections of the paper that I read, I remembered how to write – I think.

Since I started working for the Tropolitan, I have learned much more about writing and editing than I thought there was to learn. I originally had no strong feelings about journalism one way or the other.

I just wanted an opportunity to practice editing in a professional environment. Now, I find myself criticizing the lack of good editing in national and local papers.

More than giving me professional experience, working at the Tropolitan gave me new friends and strengthened my relationships with old ones during a time when I needed them the most. I made friends with a group of very different people, whom I otherwise would never have met, and who challenged me in fields that extended beyond simple grammar and spelling editing.

I gained confidence in myself and in my own skills as a writer thanks to the guidance of past and present editors of the Trop. I learned how to laugh even when stressed, and how to study even when a room is filled with the sounds of two or three different songs playing at the same time.

Thank you to all of the people whom I have worked with at the Trop these past three semesters. You have helped me strengthen myself more than I thought capable, and even though this is sappy and gross, I’m going to miss working with all of you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this dysfunctional family.

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