Photojournalism student cherishes experiences, relationships

by Autumn Bippert

Since the first semester of class, I have been thinking about the day I would write my farewell to South Plains College. I wondered what my story would be, who I would be two years into the future.

The truth is, I wasn’t excited about coming to SPC. But I wasn’t the best high school student, and SPC had the major I wanted. So there really wasn’t another option.

During the past two and a half years, I have given SPC all of myself, and in return, SPC gave me everything it could back. I have learned so much from so many kind and caring professors, such as Charlie Ehrenfeld, Billy Alonzo, Rebecca and Aaron Greene. These professors, not only taught me through their class, but they made SPC feel like home.

My whole life I have lived in the same 30-mile radius in central Texas. Being 350 miles away from what I had known my whole life was hard. And I am so thankful for the many here at SPC who made my transition less hard and made SPC my home away from home.

This brings me to where I have spent the larger majority of my college career, in the Communications Building. I have spent countless hours, late nights, even into early mornings, in the Communications Building. I wanted to be a photojournalism major because of the journalism I learned in high school. I had no idea how much I didn’t even know about journalism and communication. Being at SPC made me fall in love with journalism, photography, and communication all over again.

As I am writing this, I sit in an empty Newsroom. The Newsroom is where everything happened. I cannot even begin to describe all that has occurred in this room. This is where I laid out my first collegiate newspaper page, where I learned how to write headlines, where many friendships were formed, where I struggled to learn how to become a better leader. The Newsroom has been a gathering place of all these wonderful, and not so wonderful, memories. I’ve accomplished so much in this room, grown so much in this room and become the person I am today in this room. The Newsroom is a part of my heart. The Newsroom is the place where I struggled endlessly, but it always helped me fall back in love with journalism.

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During my first semester on the staff, I was determined to work hard and produce the best work I could. In high school, my hard work on the yearbook staff was always overlooked. But it was different once I joined the Plainsman Press. They recognized my hard work and my love for what I was doing. And I was named Editor-in-Chief after my first semester.

So many people through the years have made an impact on me through the staff. Whether good or bad, these people made a difference in my life and helped me grow and learn.

I am so thankful for the people who taught me and guided me my first semester on the staff. Matt Molinar, Riley Golden, Nicole Lopez, Brandi Ortiz, and Tovi Oyervidez all were great mentors who taught me everything I needed to know. They were also part of my support system for the first semester of college. I hope they are all doing wonderful in their endeavors.

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Randi Jines and Tina Gonzales were my fellow editorial assistants in the Newsroom who quickly became my friends that first semester. They both filled my time in the Newsroom and my life with laughter and joy. They are amazing people who will accomplish so much if they put their heart into it.

Adán Rubio was also part of the first staff I was on, although I didn’t get to know him until my second semester. Adán reluctantly joined our fun on Paper Night when we joked around. But eventually he warmed up, and we got to know him better. Adán is an amazing journalist and one of the smartest people I know. It was an absolute pleasure teaching him everything I could. I am incredibly proud of how well he is doing at Texas Tech and on the staff of the Daily Toreador as the News Editor, which I totally take some credit for. I’m so thankful for his random visits on Paper Nights to check on us and talk with me. I am delighted to call him my friend.

During my second semester, I met a girl who was being interviewed for a student feature. I didn’t know that one day she would be one of my best friends. Victoria De Souza will say that I made her join the staff, which is true. I had been friends with Victoria for close to a year when I asked her to join the staff. She reluctantly agreed. Victoria has struggled so much with writing because English is not her first language, but she has come so incredibly far. I am so proud of how far she has come and how she has stuck through it, even when she wanted to quit. She is an amazing person and such an intelligent person. I love her for so many reasons, and I will forever be cheering her on.

Rebekah Harvey (now Lofton) was on the staff last spring. She quickly became someone I could depend on. She is the most capable person I know. She also has an incredible heart. She was always there to listen, to gossip and never to judge. I know she will be incredibly successful in the future. I am so grateful to have her in my life. I enjoyed teaching her and working with her. I hope she and Brandon have an amazing life together.

Without Kendall Rainer, my right hand, kendall and i.pngI would not have been able to accomplish all that I have. Kendall and I dated in high school, and he decided to follow me to college. After his first semester, he was still unsure of what he wanted to do. So I encouraged him to join the newspaper staff. He quickly became an instrumental part of the paper. He helped me so much in and out of the Newsroom. I am so grateful to have such an amazingly hard worker in my life supporting me. I am extremely proud of how much he has learned, has grown as a person, and accomplished.

Charlie Ehrenfeld, Charles, my mentor and professor, words cannot describe all that you are to me.IMG_9258 He has been my parent away from home. He has pushed me to become better and learn more. He has taught me so much about journalism that I didn’t even know I didn’t know. He has been there to let me vent about life. And he helped me grow to be the person I am today. He has become my family, and he guided me to fall in love with communications again. I am so thankful to have him in my life, and I can’t wait to thank him in my acceptance speech one day.

Through the Plainsman Press, I have had so many experiences that I would have never done before. I’ve been on the sidelines of Texas Tech football games doing what I’ve always loved, taking photos. I’ve interviewed so many interesting and amazing people. I was a nominee for Miss Caprock, which I never thought I would do. I have sat in on Board of Regents meetings, improving my journalism range and getting to know the people who run the college. I have loved every second, through all the stress, the tears and doubts. I loved each experience.

I’ve had so many wonderful professors at SPC who made my experience memorable and great, as well as other staff at the college. I am so grateful for each and every person who has helped me through these first few years of my college career.

After two years of wondering about what my farewell would say, I figured that it is my love letter to the Plainsman Press, to every staff before me that set the foundations for the paper, and every staff I have been a part of.