College experience, Vanguard roles have taught outgoing editor-in-chief Stocki valuable lessons

Well, this is it – not only is it my last week as an undergraduate student, but also the last production of the Vanguard I’ll ever be a part of and the last article I’ll ever write here.

The best word to describe this is bittersweet. As so many of my peers who are also graduating can attest, it’s incredibly exciting to be moving on, but at the same time, this is home.

I’ve been fairly open about the fact that my first year at SVSU was not exactly ideal; I was homesick, uninvolved and not having any fun at all. Back then, I was nervous about leaving my home, the place I understood and knew best. Moving away from that comfort was not easy.

Four years later, this university has become the place where I’m most comfortable, where I feel I understand where and how I belong. SVSU has become my home – and, just a few years after my initial, scary departure from my parents’ house, I’m facing a similar feeling now as I did then. It’s rather ironic that once again, I am leaving home – and once again, I truly do not want to leave.

Transitions are hard, and I am admittedly a bit apprehensive about moving from college to being a full-time part of the working world. Things will be different and I’ll have to be different, and that will take some adjusting to.

In a lot of ways, though, I feel ready for this change. I’m not even close to being the same person that walked through the doors of Groening Commons four years ago on orientation day; I wouldn’t even recognize that girl. I owe much of these changes to this university.

The idea of college is interesting in itself. We are constantly told that we are being prepped for “the real world,” in a setting that is simultaneously similar and different to what we imagine our futures will be. Sometimes the things we’re learning feel useless, inapplicable, tedious or downright silly; I know that I’ve had that feeling myself more than once when sitting in a classroom.

But in hindsight (keep in mind, this is the hindsight of a person who still has three finals left and is technically still a college student), this experience has been more valuable than I can put into words. I’ve grown up here; I’ve found myself here; I’ve figured out what I want to do here. I’ve succeeded here, I’ve failed here, and through all of those things, I have learned here.

I’ve learned that a person’s college experience does not exist in isolation but is instead inherently tied to those around you. One of the things I have loved about college is your ability to find “your people” – I’ve found that group of individuals through the Valley Vanguard.

I’ve also been consistently blown away by the support of faculty, staff and administration at SVSU. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about professionalism, commitment and kindness have come from those who work at this university. There’s an amazing network here, and I’m glad to have been involved in it and will strive to continue to be a part of it as alumni.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about all the lessons that I’ve learned from being at the Valley Vanguard for three years. The Vanguard was my first-ever involvement at SVSU, and it was the thing that early on in my college career pushed (or, more accurately, forced) me to get out of my dorm room, talk to people and start learning what this university is all about.

While the university as a whole has been my home, the four walls of the Vanguard office have taken more of my heart than any other place on this campus. I’ve spent more hours than I can talk goofing off in the office, building friendships with my coworkers, going on endless C-store runs, and figuring out how as a staff we could work together to produce a newspaper every week.

The Vanguard has also served as the place where I’ve faced some of my biggest personal and professional challenges to date. Serving as editor-in-chief of this newspaper has helped me learn patience, at least a little; it has helped my organizational skills; it has allowed me to experience being in my first managerial position and so much more.

Accepting the position was frightening at first, and continued to be so at times throughout the semester, but practice makes perfect – or, more appropriately in this case, practice makes progress, and that’s what this year has served as for me. I’ve grown into this role in many ways that I’m happy with, and as a result I’ve grown as a person as well.

While the Vanguard has not been perfect this year, I’m still pretty happy with the result. I strove for diverse, quality news, clean pages and a strong organizational relationship with the staff, and I think I’ve achieved those goals. At the very least, I’ve achieved the goals of leaving a different, hopefully better person at the end of the year, and that’s one of the things that makes me happiest.

While I still have so much left to learn and will continue to strive to do so for the rest of my life, I am incredibly grateful for these lessons that I’ll take away from SVSU. My classes, the Vanguard and so many other things have made this experience invaluable. Marching on towards the future is bittersweet – but I know that this university has given me the tools I’ll need to move forward, and I’m ready to try.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 27th, 2015 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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