American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote: “I’m not sure what I’ll do, but— well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”
I don’t know what I expected when I joined The Parthenon in August 2018 as a beat reporter covering local politics and the City of Huntington, but, mostly, I know I wanted to experience things and to learn—about people, places, ideas—and I wanted to write about what I had learned.
Looking back now on my time spent working in the newsroom over the past couple years, graduation just a few weeks away, I have no doubts that my time here has been well spent.
I struggle to find the words to most accurately describe such a significant and lengthy stage of my life, but I know my time here at The Parthenon and at Marshall has been, if anything, formative. I am not the same person I was when I first came to campus as a freshman. I know I have grown, and grown much, even as I fail to analyze and to articulate the exact ways I have done so.
I know also that I have been very lucky and privileged throughout my time here to meet and to work with some of the most brilliant, wise and caring people I know, and for that I am forever thankful. I never could have predicted just how truly special are so many of the students, professors and other individuals I have come to know and to learn from in recent years.
But one thing I have learned since coming to campus and through my work with The Parthenon and with these special people, in this special place, is a simple fact about journalism and about life in general: Special people are everywhere, and special things are happening everywhere; You just have to be curious enough to know it.
I could say simply that the City of Huntington, that Marshall University, is a uniquely special place filled with uniquely special people, but, the truth is, where isn’t? I say this not to discredit Huntington and Marshall and this wonderful community, but to empower others, to empower myself.
I’m not exactly sure what comes next, but, in reality, I know it is unlikely I will spend the rest of my life living in Huntington, working at Marshall and in close contact with this community I now consider myself a part of—I don’t even know where I will be living or working in just a month or two. However, I can say for certain I will always carry with myself in future endeavors the memories made, the relationships formed and the countless, invaluable things I have learned throughout my time here.
While I know I cannot be a student at Marshall forever, I know also that after graduation I will continue to study—to learn, to experience, to attempt to understand—and that is precisely what I have learned here to do, both as a journalist and as a human. In the meantime, I can only hope to have made—and to continue to make—half as permanent a mark on this community as it has made on me over the past several years.