Being Editor-in-Chief of the paper is absolutely surreal for me. I’m still having trouble really grasping it.
I’ve been here since the first week of my freshman year back in Fall 2015 (ancient history, I know). I was a nervous kid — I was running a few minutes late for the first meeting. Didn’t know where to go. Wandered into Building B almost in tears, trying to figure out where the Club Hub was. God, I was going to miss the whole meeting, wasn’t I? I had already emailed Marlon, the EIC at the time, my interest in becoming assistant sports editor during the summertime. He knew I was committed, so it wouldn’t matter if I was a couple of minutes late, right?
The truth is that the paper had by that point already become my reason d’être. I spent much of my senior year of high school in a depressive episode set off by the departure of my father. It had taken me years to understand that what he was doing to all of us was abuse, and apparently it took me longer to process after he was kicked out by my very brave mother. I couldn’t just be glad he was across the country, I had to be actively suicidal about it. I am not proud of the mental state that I was in, but I think I needed to struggle through it to get to where I am now.
UMass Lowell was supposed to be my fresh start, where I could have four years to figure out this whole life thing and iron out everything before I was unleashed to the world at large.
I didn’t initiallly want to come here. I’ll admit that. I felt like I was too good for a state school, and the fact that there wasn’t a journalism major here would obviously tank any all all future attempts at a career.
But I figured while I was here I’d join the newspaper. And so I did. I joined, stumbled for a couple of articles until I figured out AP style and worked through the crippling panic attacks I would get before interviewing someone. Seriously — read my first couple of articles. I’ll admit before anyone they sucked.
But I learned from my copy and figured out how to do this journalism thing, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the close-knit staff at The Connector, and it wasn’t a coincidence that I joined the editorial staff my second semester as assistant sports editor. I honestly thought I would stay there for much of my collegiate career.
I didn’t. I went from sports to managing editor and now in the top spot as EIC. In three and a half years at UMass Lowell I have found not only a renewed outlook on life, foundation for a journalism career after I graduate but a strong family that I know I can depend on.
I was wrong. This school is everything to me. I know if I had gone anywhere else I wouldn’t have had a single chance to accomplish as much as I have here. In my senior year of college, I’m a Resident Advisor in Fox Hall as well as an active member in Best Buddies and the university’s writing club.
I want to thank everyone at The Connector for their support and hard work. We make a good goddamn paper every week, and it is an honor to serve as their Editor-in-Chief for my final semester as a River Hawk. They have given me the world when I had nothing, and I can only hope to give them as much as they have given me.