By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor in Chief
Every time I’d finish a draft of this letter, I’d feel like something was missing.
In a perfect world, I’d write a profound think piece that artfully conveys my feelings about ending my tenure as The Towerlight’s editor – one that left people rushing to donate to their college newspapers.
However, my rollercoaster of emotions and my reluctance to write anything other than news from my metaphorical desk has led to unsatisfying drafts.
So, in my final hours as editor, I decided to use my first and last “From the Editor’s Desk” to say goodbye. But, I’m not ready.
There was a sense of finality that always lingered over my tenure. I had exactly one year to turn this publication around, and then I needed to let go. But how do you just walk away from something you’ve poured your heart into for 384 days?
I’ve come to realize that as graduating seniors, we’re all walking away. I am not unique in this feeling. So many of us have used Towson University as our stomping grounds and poured ourselves into this community. It’s hard to say goodbye.
I told myself that I would be able to do it. I’d be the editor during my senior year, do my absolute best, graduate, and move on with my life. However, I forgot my tendency to be a stage-five clinger.
And it’s not like I have nothing to look forward to. I’ll be interning in a newsroom post-grad and hopefully be a full-time reporter in the fall. I’ll build a life for myself and continue to work towards being the woman I aspire to be. I’m excited and scared to see what the future holds.
Yet the heaviest part of this entire leaving thing is having to come to terms with the fact that it will never be like this again.
There’s something special about being a student reporter. It requires a specific bravery, tenacity and a desire to learn. It’s hard to fully articulate. It’s even harder to describe how special being the editor of your college paper is.
Reporting in itself is an adrenaline rush, but doing so as a student elevates the excitement.
There’s this excitement you feel when you break news for the first time or when you publish a story you’ve been working on for awhile. The feeling of getting a story out despite the lack of respect you received from sources who thought less of you because you’re a student is unmatched.
It’s knowing that you, too, can be a reporter, regardless of your age or experience level. And I’ve had the privilege of experiencing this for the last five years since becoming a journalist in my last year of high school.
For the last year, I had the opportunity to take this publication and run with it. I had the pleasure of reporting on the Towson University campus and community. I got to do work I was passionate about and help shape The Towerlight’s future.
My team and I have worked tirelessly to cover the stories that matter to the students of Towson. No matter the story, we tried our best to provide fair, accurate and journalistically sound coverage of the campus. We did so while juggling being full-time students.
We asked tough questions and fought for the truth as it’s been my mission to help close the information gap on campus through our reporting.
The last year was by no means easy. But I’d do it all again in a heartbeat if it meant having that same feeling of pushing for truth as a student reporter for a moment more.Because while I know I will do work I’m passionate about as a professional reporter, it will never be the same as the year I spent leading The Towerlight.
I accomplished a lot, but I didn’t do it alone.
To my staff, thank you for all you’ve done. I’m so proud of you and cannot wait to see what you’ll do beyond me. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you.
Also, thank you to the Towson University Mass Communication Department for shaping me into the journalist I am today. You’ve supported me since day one and stood behind me. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to learn from. I will miss you more than you know.
Thank you to those within Baltimore Student Media, the publisher of The Towerlight, for continuously supporting me and helping to achieve my goals.
Furthermore, I’d like to thank my parents, family, boyfriend and friends for supporting me. You all are my rocks. You guys held me up during some of my saddest days and pushed me to keep going. And for that I am eternally grateful.
Also, to my parents: words cannot describe how grateful I am for all your hard work that allowed me to go to college and follow my dreams. I hope to always make you proud.
I do have one lingering question for my dad though: what are you going to do with your t-shirt that says “my kid and my money go to Towson University?” The man wears it at least every other week, if not more.
Do they sell a shirt that says “my kid and my money used to go to Towson University?” Or “I paid Towson University thousands of dollars for my kid to be a writer?” Do I need to go to Custom Ink and make him one?
There’s going to be a hole in his wardrobe and we’ve yet to acknowledge it. Listen, I’m just a concerned daughter who’s worried about her Home Depot dad.
Any fellow descendants of a Home Depot dad who have experience in this matter, please hit my line. He’s going to be in the market for a riding lawn mower soon once he’s done paying Towson. Summer is quickly approaching and my father can’t stroll the isles of his favorite store without a reminder of his investment. There’s standards to uphold.
I’d like to thank the Towson University community most of all.
Thank you to those who were vulnerable with me, told me their stories and allowed me to witness their lives. Without you, none of this would’ve been possible.
Whether it was a hard story or an upbeat write-up, you allowed us in. I am grateful, and your stories will walk with me as I continue my career.
Nothing meant more to me than when the Towson community began turning to The Towerlight for the truth again. However, there’s still work to do. I hope the people beyond me continue to be deserving of your trust.
The Towerlight is, and will always be, my baby. I led it through a huge transformation, and having to let it go is hard. We’ve seen each other at our worst and best. We gave each other purpose.
And while this departure is painful, I am incredibly hopeful for The Towerlight’s future. We’ve done great work in one year, I cannot wait to see what’s to come. I have faith the publication will only go up from here and continue serving the Towson University community by providing them with the journalism it deserves.
It has been an honor, and I’ll always cherish my time as editor. This year has meant the world to me. I will miss this campus, community and newspaper immensely. But it’s time to find out who I’m going to be.