Senior send-off: Our responsibility as writers
Well, here we are. My final piece for The Hofstra Chronicle and I’m not quite sure where to start. As my dad says, “It’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.” So I guess let’s go from the beginning.
I have always found comfort in writing down my words. When I was younger, instead of Heelys or a Nintendo DS, I asked my parents for new journals and pens as birthday presents, which I would then fill up with each and every stream-of-consciousness thought that popped into my mind. Unknowingly, writing became my creative outlet. In high school, I visited the Newseum in Washington D.C. for the first time and found my niche for journalistic-style writing.
After I walked each floor, I remember one particular exhibit that stood out to me about black journalists who used the power of words to insightfully document and report on the social upheaval during the civil rights movement. They were purveyors of truth. Ever since then I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of urgency to transcend this hobby of mine into a tool for social responsibility.
“Well, isn’t print kind of dying?” is a common response I have received over the last three-and-a-half years when asked about my major.
Feel free to call out my bias, but I do not believe that print is dying; print is merely adapting to the digital age. Whether printed or online, words are still words and they hold weight when disseminated. This is something I have heard all of my professors in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication say at least once, and I firmly stand by this belief.
Over the course of my college career and throughout my time as a staff writer and editor at The Chronicle, I gradually came to understand and appreciate the impact of written words in their ability to craft profound stories. Every article was a learning opportunity for me, as I spoke with a diverse range of students and faculty who offered their unique perspectives on life and, in turn, helped mold who I am as a writer today.
I believe that as writers and creative thinkers we have the obligation to amplify voices that would otherwise go unheard as representation in all mediums creates a stronger, more unified society.
I am eternally grateful for my Chronicle family, whom I spent many layout nights with under the horrible fluorescent lights in room 203 – home to an unsettling amount of rolly chairs. The work we were able to produce as an editorial team continues to inspire my passion for writing, as I am certain we can all agree we are sure as hell not in it for the money.
A special thank you to my assistant, Drash, for keeping me sane throughout my final semester while I was practically running back from my internship in the city every Monday night to make it to layout and budget meetings. You are one of a kind and the features section is more than lucky to have you and Rachel as a team next semester.
Thank you to all the writers who pitched stories and wrote not only for our section but any section of The Chronicle. Whether it was one time or 12 times, it means the world that you showed interest in being a part of our family. Please continue to dig deep and uncover those stories that are worth sharing.
Lastly, Dr. Jernigan, my professor turned internship advisor turned independent study faculty member and back to professor, I will never be able to thank you enough for your unwavering mentorship. Whether we were discussing the history of the black press, film photography or the best vegetarian restaurants in Harlem, you have made me more confident in knowing that my work matters and deserves a platform.
If there’s one thing I am certain of as I prepare to walk across the graduation stage next week and enter the professional world, it is that as storytellers, what we write does in fact matter and, for this reason, we must write with as much integrity and conviction as possible, now more than ever. Here’s to the next chapter.