The Friends I’ve Made in The Parthenon Are Forever


Isabella Robinson, Staff Reporter

I wanted to become a YouTuber when I came to the journalism school in 2019 as a freshman. I tried to find myself deep in the glitz and glamor I romanticized this career to be. Red carpet events, press conferences, the Academy Awards – I was going to be there in full makeup and a microphone in my hand addressing millions. A small fraction of them would be young girls like I once was, watching a television news reporter dreaming of also making it on screen one day. All this, despite a performing arts career on hiatus in pursuit of becoming a distinguished academic, when I decided to make the most of my time in college. On my second tour of Marshall with my mother, we focused on the journalism program, as I had decided I felt destined for greatness, and this seemed to be the program most likely to gain me the stardom I sought. I met those who would become my future professors, dean and advisor and saw all the “stages’’ I would one day embrace as my classrooms, such as the television news station and the newsroom. 

The meaning of the classroom extends far beyond a physical setting. I learned about life, friendship, perseverance, resourcefulness, compassion, empathy and dedication in an environment so nurturing yet challenging in ways I could not prepare myself for before. Many quotes are said about various professions, like nursing and teaching, such as “it takes someone special” and “you must have a patient and caring heart to do that.” One thing I wish people outside of this profession knew about journalists is that it takes someone extraordinary to study journalism and choose to do this job in which, to succeed, you must be soft yet strong and as adaptable as a chameleon.  

I came into this major wanting to be a star, but a lesson I learned working for The Parthenon and learning to be a journalist is that the most important stage is the one you build yourself. It is the stage you create to showcase a story beyond yourself, a story that tells the tale of human history: of love, of conflict, of loss, of life, of elections and the newest film rising in cinema. It leaves a record of our time on this planet and what we did while we were here. Journalists are artists, and the world is our canvas. The pen, the laptop, the camera, whatever the “brush” may be, yields so much power. Doing good work can change the world forever;  the opposite is also true. 

I have been blessed to be alongside actual stars when I started journalism school. Some of the most talented designers, writers and public speakers have sat next to me in class. As semesters passed and I watched my peers and I become increasingly comfortable reporting on more complex issues, experimenting with investigative reporting and writing about “difficult” or buzzing issues on campus, I watched the culture at the paper change. I discovered that good work comes when you’re passionate about what you are doing, and I watched more people want to be part of this tremendously interesting thing everyone was talking about. 

There are so many characters I have met in the field, from being in the lot of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium every game day to covering a hostage situation downtown a few semesters ago, it gets weird, and every day is an adventure. The friends I’ve made at The Parthenon are forever. We are like a fraternity with alums who stay in touch, have social events and lots of group chats. These are the people I spent late nights studying and printing the paper with, talked to every day in class together and found support through the past four years of college.  

I watched the paper change so much since I began as a freshman news editor. I joined the staff desperate for students to fill roles and watched it become an unrecognizable booming newsroom with frequent guest contributors, breaking news stories and a dynamic team behind it all. One of my dearest friends, Tyler Spence, deserves praise for The Parthenon becoming, well, really cool. I thank The Parthenon for bringing me one of my best pals and allowing me to work alongside him because his work continues to inspire me.  

If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in journalism classes, I encourage you to step off campus in your coverage and out of your comfort zone. Talk to your classmates. Sit in the front row in every class and ask questions. There are stories to be told and friends to be made around every corner. Join the school paper! So many opportunities are in the basement of Smith Hall, and applying to and becoming an editor of The Parthenon throughout college was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my time here. This newspaper has empowered me to design the newsletters distributed throughout Huntington, interview West Virginia Governor Jim Justice multiple times, travel to the New Orleans Bowl, accept student news awards and even report for CBS Sports Network.

Although my journalism career has been amazing, I am continuing my education this August in law school. Wish me luck! I am so sad it’s over, but being a journalist is a part of my identity. I will always take too many photos, ask too many questions, spend too much time looking at screens and subscribe to The New Yorker for my tote bag. The lessons I have learned reporting for The Parthenon-the lives I’ve touched and those who have touched mine-will forever be with me.  

Stay curious.

Bella Robinson served as a staff reporter, news editor and features editor throughout her time at The Parthenon.