I’ve stared at a blank Microsoft Word doc for days now.
For someone who struggles very little with writing and putting words on a page, this particular article was difficult to start. I just did not know where to start.
I have spent so many hours in the Newsroom in the Communications Building, since fall 2018. Which stories do I tell, or which ones do I not? Not to mention the emotions that will come with writing this farewell piece.
I started my journey with the Plainsman Press in the fall 2018 semester. We only had six staff members, all who wrote and edited the paper. I was a determined, inspired journalist who wanted a hands–on experience of every part of the newspaper. Yet I had no idea of the work, time, stress, and fun that would go with it.
My first paper week was rough for several reasons. The main reason was I am not a night person, so when 11 p.m. hit, I took a nap on the floor in between the desks and the whiteboard. I got in trouble for that later. However, Kendall was nice (for once) and waited for me to wake up before getting on to me. He explained that even if you are done with your work, you help others with theirs so everyone can get done sooner.
Another reason was I had no idea what in the world I was doing. Between working with the In Design software and trying to figure out how Apple computers work, I struggled with laying out my first page. I cannot even guess the number of times I asked Autumn for help that week. Through controlled breathing and gritted teeth, she kindly helped me every time.
Now do not get me wrong; everyone loves everyone in the Newsroom. But when it’s 3 a.m. and everyone is tired, hands tend to go to throats.
You will get glared at and yelled at, but I promise you will be doing just as much glaring and yelling as well.
The strangers in the class become staff members, and the staff members become family. You will find yourself coming into the Newsroom in your spare time to eat, talk, joke, play games, and work on homework with them. That is part of the reason why everyone gets on to others as much as we do, because we are family.
You will get to know people way deeper than you expected. They will share their life stories, even if you do not want them to. They will share the good, bad, funny, and sad ones, but none will be more hilariously sad than either half of Kait’s poor fish.
You will be picked on, and every one will poke you until all your buttons are pushed and you storm out of the room. However, you will never have a group of friends more loyal. If you come in talking about how someone really hurt you and messed up your week, they will come up with a plan for how to kill, who will do the killing, where to bury the body, and who will pay for the deed. The News crew will be more than willing to back you up, no matter what the cost, and by cost I mean prison for life. (No one was killed, or harmed, in the making of any newspaper).
The girls will have your back when you want to go walking down the haunted hallway, and the guys will do their best to scare the girls as they come back.
I wish I could tell you which part is the best and which part is the worst. However, it changes every week, and every single thing about the Plainsman Press will be your favorite/worst part.
One of my favorite parts that never changes, though, is the people. I go get my nails done with the girls in the Newsroom and go out to eat lunch with Reece, Austin, and Victoria at least once a week, if not more. And on Thursdays, Charlie takes the Newsroom to the BSM, and those who do not have class eat together. Typically, the group will walk to the BSM. That is my most favorite time on Thursdays. The walk to and from lunch consists of stories, laughter and jokes. Not to mention everyone is able to get outside for a bit and breathe in fresh air.
While being on the Plainsman Press staff, I was able to interview author Jodi Thomas, Television News Personality John Stossel, and many more awesome people. I got to write opinion columns and typically got to pick which stories I wanted to write.
Charlie, our instructor and advisor, tries his hardest to make this experience the best for the students. He listens to story ideas, and as long as they will not get the college (or him) sued, you are able to write/cover it.
Charlie does a lot more than just critique your stories, though. He is also a great mentor. Charlie truly cares for each of his students and tries his best to prepare them and give them what they need in order to move forward in their career.
The Newsroom has been like a second home to me. We laugh, cry, and confide in each other. We know when someone needs a hug, and we know when someone just needs food. I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone into the Newsroom and Autumn, Victoria or someone else has looked at me, and noticed that I am in an off mood, asking “Want to go get food?”
Eventually, everyone will be able to tell when you are hiding your true feelings and will sit you down and tell you to talk.
Sometimes the talk is just about a bad day, or about troubles with a relationship. Other times, the talk requires shutting the Newsroom door (because it locks when it is shut and you cannot get in without a key). Those are the real talks. You know something is going down, typically within the Newsroom, when they get up and shut the door.
Being in the Newsroom, whether you want to be a journalist or not, is so much fun and worth the time. It is a place where you can and will belong.
There will be days when you ask yourself why you ever got into it. But when the paper comes out, you realize the worth of your work and nothing else matter. So you excitedly do it all again.
South Plains College has been a wonderful college for me. I was homeschooled my whole life, and although I was active in sports and extra activities, transitioning from homeschooling to public school terrified me.
SPC is a great place for people who are nervous about transitioning into college. There are wonderful professors who are willing to help you when you have trouble with your assignments, and some professors try to get to know you personally as well.
Emily Brunson, who is an English instructor, would bring M&M’s in a bowl and pass it around. We could only grab one M&M, and depending on what color we got, we would have to answer a question, such as “What’s your favorite color?” Then we would be able to get more M&M’s afterword.
Dave Cleavenger, an agriculture professor, enjoyed talking with students after class. He also cared about the students’ health. Once I went into class with sunglasses on and just kept my head down because I had a really bad migraine. Cleavenger noticed me not being myself and asked if I was OK. When I told him about my migraine, he massaged a pressure point in my hands that relieves migraine pressure. Because of that, my migraine continued to get better for the next few hours. By the middle of the day, my head was fine.
SPC has been a great two–year college for me, and I will forever be grateful for this college, the professors, and friends that I made here.