Olivia Wicik & Alex Parker
Almost four years ago, on a scorching hot day at the end of August, I drove onto the C.W. Post campus.
It took me twenty minutes to figure out where I was supposed to park. College orientation was an overnight event where I knew close to no one; I was painfully shy throughout the whole experience and if you know anything about me, I’m not a very shy person.
The theme of “Orientation ‘09” was something along the lines of a theatre show, starring “me,” which actually, in my opinion, is quite ironic looking back on it. Because, if I’ve learned anything at Post for four years, it’s that nothing is just about you. It’s about other people; friends, professors, mentors, and bosses. Those are the individuals who help you evolve; and college is all about evolving.
To be completely honest, my first two years were a slow evolution. As a commuter student, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of going to class and going home. I was a good student and I talked to my friends while I was here, but other than that I truly didn’t feel like Post meant anything to me. It wasn’t until I joined the Pioneer that I really began to understand that being a part of something bigger, something that in our own little world was even quite powerful, was so much more rewarding.
Walking into a meeting by yourself, especially when the office is ridiculously hard to find, can be somewhat intimidating. Taking that step, however, shaped the rest of my Post experience. It’s in that office that I met people who had the same visions as me and now, four years later, I consider them family. It’s there that I also met the Pioneer’s faculty advisor, Carolyn Schurr Levin, who became an excellent mentor, professor and even a friend.
Here at the Pioneer, I truly had the learning experience of a lifetime. As a journalism student, the ultimate goal of going to college is to learn the craft of good reporting. Classes were very helpful, don’t get me wrong, and I’m very appreciative for having had my share of dedicated professors who genuinely wanted to see me succeed.
But, it’s at the Pioneer where I learned the importance of a deadline (multiple Tuesday nights spent being in the office later than midnight put that into perspective real quick), the significance of fact checking, the magnitude of one wrong word; the extent of what true “good reporting” really is. I learned most of those things through mistakes, but I grew from them. I’ve learned that although many times, a reporter will be faced with hardships, such as lack of information and uncooperative sources, finding a way to deal with those roadblocks and publishing an accurately reported story, on deadline, is the most rewarding feeling in the world.
I’ve tried to lead by example and be as understanding and helpful as I could be to my staff. I’ve also, however, learned that I truly have so much more to learn, and that excites me more than being content with what I already do know. If I could leave behind a piece of advice, it’s to be skeptical. Don’t accept an answer just because someone tells you that’s how it is. Ask questions. And always be kind, because at the end of the day, we’re all human and kindness goes a long way.
It’s bittersweet leaving this publication behind but I’m more than confident that it’s in good hands. As last year’s Editor in Chief, Annie Winberry said, “Students, this is your soapbox. If you want your voice to be heard, this is the way to do it.” I encourage every student on campus to associate the Pioneer with being an outlet for his or her concerns.
Four years later, our school is no longer “C.W. Post,” I now know where to park, and other than leaving with just my Bach- elor’s degree, I leave with friends, memories and an incredible appreciation of journalism. I know why our orientation t-shirts said “starring me,” and now I know who “me” is. The show is no longer about me though, now, it’s about you.
My first day at Post is somewhat of a blur to me now, as I was only 16 years old. I do remember being absolutely petrified; on my own for the first time with no parents to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to. Now, I sit writing this five years later, staring graduation and adulthood right in the face.
To say that I have enjoyed my time here at Post (which in my mind will always have a C.W. in front of it) is an understatement. My underclassmen years were filled with learning from my mistakes; pushing deadlines to the limit, staying out too late, and doing the wrong thing regardless of my conscience telling me otherwise. Basically, your typical undergrad college experience.
It was my junior and senior years where I really made the most memories. I joined this newspaper staff at the end of my sophomore year and through these past two and a half years, this staff has become my family. Especially this year, these amazingly talented women, who I spend ten to eleven hours a day with putting the paper together, are some of the most incredible people I know. My co-Editor-in-Chief has become my illegitimate twin sister; I suppose that’s what happens when you spend as much time together as we do. However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’ve gotten to do some pretty incredible things during my time here; seeing the only handwritten draft of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation firsthand, going to the presidential debate at Hofstra University for the school’s radio station, interning at Newsday and interviewing Miguel before his Spring Fling performance just to name a few.
As much as things have definitely changed on this campus since I started my education, and there are always things to complain about, I have loved just about every minute and would not change anything, except maybe the food at Winnick.
I won’t go on reminiscing anymore. For any underclassmen reading this, this is my advice to you: get involved and have the most fun as possible. I’m not telling you to neglect your schoolwork by any means but do anything and everything you can. Don’t skip homecoming or Spring Fling or pep rally.
I did for a few years and that’s one of my biggest regrets of my college career. First and foremost have fun; you have the rest of your life to work. This is not the time to make hard and fast decisions. This is the time to make mistakes and to learn from them and as cliché as it sounds, the time to find out who you are and what you want out of life. Enjoy this time because in the blink of an eye you will be saying your goodbyes to friends who have become your family.
For any seniors reading this, I hope you’re ready. We are at a precipice, we can either go left or right; either way the decisions we are making now are going to considerably shape our futures. I wont preach the typical “find a job” speech because to be com- pletely honest, I’m winging it right now. But, enjoy these last few days of classes and more importantly senior week! Good luck with all of your futures, go kill it!
April 24, 2013
Dear Olivia, Alex and the rest of this year’s Pioneer staff,
Congratulations on a job well done! This year, you have provided an important service to your fellow students and to the entire Post campus. You have informed, engaged and entertained them. You have chronicled life on campus with timely, interesting and relevant stories. Your weekly issues just kept getting better and better. You dealt with frustrations and adversity maturely and with a sense of humor. You didn’t let Hurricane Sandy, the theft of your layout com- puters, or the myriad other obstacles you faced stop you for even one week. You just kept going. You have exhibited all the qualities that it takes to be superior journalists – enthusiasm, tenacity, teamwork, fairness, and compassion. I’m sure that I am speaking for many others on campus when I gratefully thank you for your hard work and commitment.
Carolyn Schurr Levin Faculty Advisor for the Pioneer