This week is my last publication and the end of the road for my tenure at The Phoenix, 151 bylines later.
I’ll be honest — it’s been a tough year to be a student and arguably one of the most difficult news cycles for a journalist, so I’m incredibly burned out and will be glad to hand over the reigns to my successor, Katie Anthony. Katie is a fearless and naturally talented reporter — I remember thinking that when I saw her first News story when she was a first-year. The paper is in good hands.
But I know that in a few weeks when my life settles down and I get some adequate sleep, I’ll start to miss this paper and this job like crazy. This will be my first summer since the summer before my first year at Loyola I won’t be managing summer Phoenix coverage. Life is about to get really quiet for a few months before graduate school.
I’ll miss the hustle of The Phoenix that started my second semester of college, when I began to cover Loyola as a reporter for the News section and then moved on to work as an editor. I’d argue this job has kept me occupied and out of trouble as an undergrad, due to constantly being on-call for when the unthinkable happens at Loyola or Rogers Park or in greater Chicago.
And lots of unthinkable has happened, especially in recent months, training me for what my dad would call the “Big RW,” or big real world — especially the big real world of being a reporter.
I’m eternally grateful for what The Phoenix has done for me in terms of developing my writing skills, thickening my skin through tough criticism, helping me get to know the wonderful city of Chicago and its inner workings, developing a personal network of talented people in this industry and giving me a set of life-long friends.
Also, a huge thanks to Jane Miller, my Managing Editor, who has kept me sane and has been a great friend this year through the pandemic. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you helping me lead the paper through such a tough time, Jane.
That January 2018 day I signed up for The Phoenix at the organization fair in the lobby of the School of Communication is one I’ll never forget. It was right after Loyola Professor Richelle Rogers’ communication seminar class. The class was purposed at helping first-years develop their resumes and career goals. I had spent the entire fall semester questioning if I even wanted to go into journalism, and her lecture that day put me back on the right path.
While I don’t remember exactly what she said, Rogers told our class something along the lines of how important it is to write for The Phoenix if we plan on applying for a journalism job after our time at Loyola. She scared me into signing up for the paper that day, but she was 100% right.
My experience at The Phoenix has made me feel ready to spread my wings.