The Towerlight has a tradition of, each semester, allowing the graduating seniors to write an editorial, reflecting on their time in our newsroom. Below are this semester’s seniors (in alphabetical order).
Hafiz Aina, outgoing webmaster
It has been a pleasure working as the Towerlight’s Webmaster for the past two years. I’ve had a lot of fun working with the amazing writers and staff who work very hard to communicate important news with Towson’s campus and community. These past two years with the Towerlight have challenged my technical abilities – whether it was coming up with a new site design, exploring the limitations of WordPress, or resolving issues in the backend of the site. The pressure that came with being the Towerlight’s go-to technical person has been well worth it. I have gained skills that have led to career opportunities and that will benefit me going forward.
I would like to give a big thanks to the Towerlight staff for being such wonderful people to work with. My work with the Towerlight has definitely been one of my best experiences during my time here at Towson University.
Tyler Beard, outgoing assistant sports editor
My time writing for The Towerlight has been a great ride. It has turned me into a much better writer than I was when I stood at the Involvement Fair signing up for the school paper.
I didn’t know what to expect at first, as I never wrote for my high school’s paper and had no idea how to construct a story. However, the writers welcomed me with open arms and helped me learn the process.
My freshman and sophomore years were all about learning what it’s like to be a reporter. I learned how to ask the proper questions, how to write without bias and how to turn in a story at a tight deadline.
Junior and senior year were my chances to use what I had learned and to write like a journalist. I was able to cover the major sports at Towson and did feature stories I wouldn’t have thought possible when I first came to school.
One of the major things I learned over time is to build relationships with other writers. I met so many great people that helped improve my writing skills and gave me tips on conducting interviews, editing, etc. These great people also turned out to be my friends, and I can’t thank them enough for taking this journey with me.
Another thing I learned is to not be afraid to do something different. As writers, we should go out and make a name for ourselves. Go out and do something that hasn’t been done before or hasn’t been talked about yet. Make sure to put your spin on it and be proud of what you wrote.
Towson has been good to me, and I’m going to miss a lot about the school. I’ll miss the friends I made, the walk to class every day (even on Cross Campus Drive) and sitting in class wondering when school will be over. It’s finally reached that point, and it’s time to move on.
I’ll miss covering afternoon football games or lacrosse games that go down to the wire. I’ll miss the post-game press conferences, listening to the energy in Coach Ambrose’s voice or the pride in Coach Nadelen’s voice. Those press conferences have ended, and my last post-game story has been written.
I don’t know where my journey will continue, but I have to say it’s been a fun ride so far. Adieu, Towson.
Kara Bucaro, outgoing art director
I’ve been at Towson for five years of my life. I’ve spent a significant portion of each school year wondering how I was going to get each assignment done and then waking up to the next day. As for what I’ve in learned from five years at Towson, it’s hard to recall all the specific things or the people I’ve met. However, there are two things I’ve been a part of that stand out the most: my five years as a part of Towson Track and Field (or as we lovingly nicknamed our sorority, track phi track) and my two years as part of the Towerlight. Since I’m not a writer (but between you and me, guys, my guilty pleasure is writing) I’m going to pass on a few things from what I’ve learned from my sport and my time here in the office.
If you want something, fight for it with everything you have.
I’m sure that you guys probably read that I was on the track and field team and did a double take – how does Kara run, let alone almost every day? I wanted to. Between the 5 a.m. lifts, the workouts where I thought, “This is it. This is where they’ll find my lifeless body,” and running more miles than I could ever fathom, I’ve found something that brought me happiness every day. That doesn’t mean this sport hasn’t come with its heartbreaks, as I spent a majority of outdoor track on a stationary bike because I was chronically injured. Despite this setback, I kept fighting to participate and race with the people I am proud to call my second family. Some days I cried and others I battled with myself (sometimes tooth and nail), so, as I’m writing, this I can say with certainty I gave it all I had.
This brings me to my second point, “Don’t take what you have for granted.” I’ve heard that phrase from plenty of people the minute I stepped onto Towson’s campus last August, and they were speaking from experience, a point in time that could be recalled yet I was just beginning to endure. There is nothing I would change, but there was a time that I didn’t think any of this was going to end. Time seemed frozen and hovered over periods of my life then would speed up again at will. Take the bad with the good. Soak up the good when you have it, and battle against the bad with what you have learned, because surprise – I’m still here.
The beginning of this year came with an experience that would change me as a person, but has taught me one of the biggest things I have learned (and the last I’ll highlight): take it slow. There are so many things to do and possibilities as to what each and every one of you could be. If anyone reading this is like me, then some of the roads you’ll have driven on might have been at fifth gear, then you crashed on the side of the road as a result. When you take the time to make your repairs, take the time to look around and see what’s still standing. Rather, who is. Stay in touch with whomever they are, reach out occasionally, and bring them a pint of their favorite ice cream when they’re upset. They might even bring you a second spoon.
Track fam, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Everyone else, make sure to skip class occasionally.
Sarah Chmielowiec, outgoing video producer
I joined the Towerlight as a videographer the fall of my sophomore year. My freshman year I attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a major in directing, playwriting and production. I was doing theatre all the time; I felt smothered by it. I had no other creative outlets. I was interested in video, but everyone treated my curiosity like, “Oh, that’s cute, now let the film majors do their thing.”
I worked hard and kept creating as a staff member until it was time for the previous video editor to step down. So, I assumed the role. I know my videos were not always the best, but I relished the opportunity to learn and grow.
Nowadays, it feels like you need to be an expert in everything you do right away. I wanted Towerlight Video to be a place where people could experiment and learn and get better. I welcomed mistakes, because they were learning opportunities. How could you fix a mistake and still produce a quality video? What are you going to do next time so that you don’t make the mistake again? These were some of the questions I answered every day in my time as video producer.
I wanted to create a section that not only had serious news stories, but contained fun and entertaining videos as well. I wanted to invite people in with a funny video of Towerlight staff members attempting football drills and have them stay with footage from a peace rally. I wanted to showcase the hard-working students of the Towson University community, because they continue to inspire me.
It has also been a blessing having been in such a nurturing environment. The members of The Towerlight staff are some of the most nurturing and professional individuals I have ever met. They helped me produce the best work possible. They also were my support when work was the last thing I wanted to think about. I feel like they always had my best interests at heart, whether personally or professionally. I have so much to thank them for, and a book would not be long enough to contain it all.
I’m leaving Towerlight Video with a job lined up at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I’m very sad to leave the Baltimore area, but The Towerlight taught me to dream big and take chances. Although I am very, very ready to be done with school, I will miss The Towerlight very much. I hope Towerlight Video continues to teach and inspire more young professionals after I’m gone. I hope it remains a place to discover and explore your passions, no matter what they are. Dream big, and don’t let your mind limit you. You are more intelligent, more powerful and more beautiful than you think. Thank you, Towerlight, for teaching me that.
Carley Milligan, outgoing editor-in-chief
I can still vividly remember the first time I walked into The Towerlight office almost a week before I moved into Tower A my freshman year. I remember being on my best behavior as I was introduced to the then editor-in-chief, Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, and whisked away to Potbelly for lunch in a car full of people I had only just met.
I can still vividly remember my first assignment, when I covered the welcome back concert, and how nervous I was to interview a crowd of strangers. Looking back now, it’s funny, because most of the people in the crowd were probably freshmen just as nervous and eager to get involved as I was.
So much time has passed since these moments took place, yet they feel like only a few months ago. Looking back now, I realize how much has happened in my four years here and even since last year, when I was elected editor-in-chief and dove headfirst into what has been, hands down, the best year of my life. I have learned and grown more than I ever thought possible, overcome challenges, tried new things and started to discover the kind of person and journalist I want to be.
I am so thankful to have had this opportunity and truly can’t imagine my college experience having turned out any other way. I have spent a wonderful four years here at Towson, and they have all been defined by my time spent at The Towerlight with the many incredible people who have come through the door of UU 309. But, before I say my final farewell, I want to give a few shout outs.
First and foremost, to Mike Raymond, our general manager, who day after day, year after year, puts up with our shenanigans, and is always there when you need him to crack a joke or provide what has been some of the best advice I have ever received. So thank you, and the rest of the Baltimore Student Media Board, for keeping The Towerlight alive and well.
To all of the editors I have worked with throughout the years, you all have not only been my co-workers, but also my best friends. You are all beautiful people, and I wish you greatness in your life and in your work. I thank you for all of the support you have provided me with. You have been my rock, and I couldn’t have asked for a better team.
Lastly, to all those I was fortunate enough to work with and interview throughout my reporting experiences, from administration, to faculty, staff and students from almost every department at Towson, thank you for letting me into your worlds and trusting me with your words.
I have loved my time at Towson, and although I am so sad to see it come to an end, I know that I am ready for whatever comes next because of everything and everyone at The Towerlight. #TowerLifeForever
Annie Sragner, outgoing arts & life editor
For most of my life, I saw myself as a floater. I always had friends from different groups and I found it difficult to see the appeal in declaring my allegiance exclusively to any one thing for a long time. There was always something stopping me from putting both feet in and fully committing.
I took dance for almost eight years when I was younger, but I mostly did it for the exercise and friendships I made there. I always got yelled at for talking and never went on pointe because classes were on the weekends.
I also tried Ultimate Frisbee when I got to college, but I realized my body couldn’t handle the sprinting and athleticism it required (props to them though, those ladies are badass).
It was around this time that I like to call my “Quarter-Life Crisis” where I was uncertain about most parts of my life. I was a sophomore biology major, but didn’t want to go into research or medicine.
I knew that I liked writing, but I didn’t know how to combine that with science. I was also writing a few arts stories for The Towerlight, and I knew that I enjoyed the people I was meeting through doing that.
During this quest to find my niche, a friend recommended that I compose a list of things that I’m passionate about. Most of the entries I wrote down were topics related to deep conversations I had with others that got me thinking big in a new way.
After that, one thing led to another and I showed my list to the editor-in-chief of the paper at the time, and on the spot he offered me a position as an opinion columnist. That week, “The Big Picture” was born, and I finally found a way to turn my writing into something more important than just me.
Little did I know that “The Big Picture” would become such a meaningful opportunity to document my personal realizations and to share them with others. It also provided me with a sense of belonging to this newspaper family where I would eventually work my way up to Arts & Life Editor.
At times, I felt like a fish out of water being a biology major among an office full of journalists, but this process of continuous writing and learning the mechanisms behind media production have taught me so much about the world and how I fit into it.
I have no way to comprehend exactly how many people I have reached during my 2.5 years with the Towerlight, but I hope that my words inspired positivity in those who took the time to read what my mind felt compelled to express.
I have grown tremendously during my experience as a columnist, editor and writer and I have so much gratitude for the opportunities and people that made this possible.
It’s time to float on to something new, and although this is the end of a chapter, it’s just the beginning of my story.