Passion for writing leads student to pursue new career path

by NICOLE TRUGILLO/Editor-in-Chief

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I never really thought how much a single room could change my life.

I never really thought how many people could change my life.

I’ve made amazing friends along the way, and I’ve also lost some. I’ve made some great choices along the way, and I’ve also made a few bad ones.

But all the choices have led me here. Those choices have led me to become a print journalism major instead of a veterinarian technician major (which I do plan to pursue one day).

I didn’t have an advisor when I first came to South Plains College because I thought I didn’t need one. I planned my first semester on my own, and I read in the SPC catalog that they had a newspaper class. I thought I would give it a try.

The first day I walked into “the room that will change your life” was terrifying. There were a lot of people I didn’t recognize, and I was very overwhelmed. That’s when I sat down next to someone who I would become very close to, Skylar, who I will talk more about later. I raised my hand to volunteer for my first story, and I don’t even know why I did it. I think it was because I wanted to try something new, and I wanted to be brave.

I even went on to sign up to be an editorial assistant. I thought everyone was kidding when they said they stayed until 3 a.m. to finish the paper. I was very tired the next day. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed putting together the stories and learning every day from people who I become very close to. Even though I didn’t talk until my last semester, I loved what I did, and I loved the people I spent time with.

This is part of the farewell that is very difficult to write. I never imagined writing my farewell would be difficult. But I guess someone would have to experience the atmosphere of the newsroom and everyone in it to know what I’m feeling.

Let’s start with the new friends I have encountered in the last year. “The Squad,” as they call themselves, includes Brandi, Dariella, Jonathan, Matt, Mallory, and Riley (and Pamela). They are so different from each other, but in a good way. This group reminds me of when I was in a squad (I still am, but it’s shrunk down through the semesters). Brandi is always the outspoken one. She is random, and I love that about her. She can literally talk about anything, and it will make you laugh harder than ever.

Dar is so sweet and nice. I owe it to her for a new Starbucks drink I get every time I go. Her fashion sense is always on point, and she is very easy to talk to. She is always polite, and she’s always down to help with a photo illustration.

Jonathan and I have bonded from the time he told me he loved Nicki Minaj. I never thought someone would love her as much as I do. But, I was wrong. He even listened to “Shanghai” (a song performed by Nicki Minaj), and he even quotes it on Paper Nights. He’s hilarious from time to time, even if he doesn’t realize it. I’m going to miss those moments with him.

As for Matt and Mallory, this duo is never going to be apart. They are always attached at the hip, and they are hilarious together. Matt is crazy, and he’s random at times too, which makes his sense of humor great in every way. Mallory is too adorable! I literally think she is the cutest person I’ve ever met. I will cherish the moment when she saved Joshua from me by grabbing me and setting me on her lap and patting me on the back (whatever happens at TIPA, stays at TIPA).

Riles is the go-to person when it comes to video games. He’s also the go-to person for making jokes (some racial). He can be sarcastic at times. But that’s what makes him such a great person. He has great comebacks, and I respect him for that.

Sara has been a great photo editor, and I appreciate the work she has done on her Spotlights. I know that it hasn’t been easy for her sometimes. But I know in the future she will be great in whatever she does.

Nick Roy is like ESPN, but as a human. It’s crazy how much he knows about sports and athletes. He has also started his own online newspaper, and that’s awesome considering he is/was a history major. He also laughs at everyone’s jokes, even mine, which I like him a little bit more for that. Also, fun fact about him is that he can name almost every country’s flag!

Now here’s the hard part of my farewell, the part that I’ve been dreading for years.

I knew Devin before I came to the newsroom. We played each other in basketball when we were in high school, and I’ve seen her in Amherst before. I never spoke to her until our first newspaper class. She is a beast at taking photos, and she is a very talented photographer. Her little family is adorable, and I know that whatever the future holds for her and her family, it’s going to be great. You’re small, but you’re also fierce, and I’m going to miss you making fun of you-know-who’s wallet.

Oh, Jenny. You and gravity have been going at it since the day I met you. You are a very sweet person, and you were one of my very first friends. You were the one who was obsessed with animation, and you always told me I looked like Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” I can speak to you about anything because you’re very easy to talk to. I know you’re a klutz, and I know I shouldn’t laugh when you fall down. But, you have a great personality when it comes to that. You’re a great person, and you have never said anything bad about anyone. You’ve never picked sides, and I appreciate you for all the times you’ve listened to me rant and be mad at people I dislike. I wish nothing but the best for you, and be careful!

My very first friend, Skylar, is off with her new life. Skylar, I remember signing up for my first story and you took photos for it. We were a team when we started our first semester. Your accent is to die for, and you have a big heart that everyone should be jealous of. I’m always going to remember the night that Chesanie and I almost flew out the window in your truck, and when you hung out with us at TIPA. I’m going to miss you. You’re a very talented photographer, and you are going to do great things in life.

Brittany Brown, or BBrown, which she prefers, is probably the most outspoken friend I’ve ever had. Nobody dare talk about Beyoncé, or she will come after you faster than you can finish the sentence that came out of your mouth. Under all of that, I can see she has a great heart too, and she’s funny. She’s my token black friend, and I’ve made sure she’s my only black friend I have. She’s a great sports writer, and she was a great sports editor. She’s very outspoken, and I know she will say what’s on her mind. I wish you the best, BBrown, and I know you have a bright future.

JoshUA used to be a TV kid. But he came to his senses when he realized that the newsroom is like family. He has grown to be a great friend and an amazing writer. He has also been a great friend of mine, which I never saw coming. I’m going to miss our banter on Paper Nights, and joshing around with you (you see what I did there?) I’m going to miss teasing him about how the Cowboys stink and him putting me in the jar. UA, you have been a great sports writer, and you’ve been a great team leader. I know that your writing is going to take you far in life, and I know you will succeed at anything you do.

Who would have known that I would become so close to Chesanie Brantley. You have lived almost 10 minutes from me almost our whole lives, and your grandparents lived down the street from me too! I remember you used to be so quiet, and you broke out of your shell. You remind me of myself when I first joined the staff, and I wouldn’t want to experience my last semester with anyone else. You are a very talented photographer and writer, and you don’t listen to anyone who tells you different! You have been such a great friend, and I hope that we can continue our friendship in the future. You’ve been a great co Editor-in-Chief, and I’m glad you asked me to join you on this incredible journey. Just know, Ches, that you will go far in your career, and you’ve been a great part of my life. Thank you for everything you have done, and thank you for the memories.

Jayme, you are one of the most influential people I have ever met. I’m so blessed she came into my life. I’m extremely blessed I had a chance to know her as my Editor-in-Chief and one of my best friends. She is my role model from the day I took on my first story in the newsroom. She has believed in me since I joined staff, and I don’t understand how she could see all the potential I have. She has helped me when I’m down, and I hope I’ve done the same for her. I do mean it when I say that I want to be like Jayme when I grow up, because she’s the best person. When I think of a journalist, I think of Jayme. She is definitely a big part of my life now. She’s the only person who knows how bad I wanted to win an award, how bad I wanted to be Editor-in-Chief, and a great writer. She’s seen me cry, and I’ve seen her cry, which makes our friendship more special. Jayme, I really hope I made you proud.

There is one person I haven’t spoken, about and this is absolutely the hardest to write about. I never believed him when he said, “This room will change your life…if you let it.” I never took him seriously. I never found a place where I belonged before, and I always thought what could make the newsroom any different. The difference is I treat the people who I’ve met like family. He has always pushed me to be a great writer. He pushed me because I believe that he believed I could do great things with my life. From the new leads, rewrites, countless blue notes, and shaking of the head, I realized that he did all that stuff for me. He shot my headlines down for me, he corrected all my mistakes for me, he gave me sass for having late stories. All the things this man has done were and have been for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and I mean that.

I know I’ve given you sass. I know I made you upset, and I know that sometimes I wanted to just give up. But, I didn’t. I didn’t because all the things I did were for you too. That’s what children do. I don’t care if I only win one award. I don’t care if I win all of them. The only thing I care about is what I’ve learned from you and what memories I’m going to look back on. My name is on that wall because of you. I wrote that story because you believed I could. I never thought you could do so much for me, but you have.

I’m going to miss you, Charles. I’m going to miss arguing with you. I’m going to miss you being upset with me and vice versa. I’m going to miss you giving me sass when reading my stories, when in reality I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m going to miss your voice impressions of me (which are very good by the way. I’ve been around too long.) I’m going to miss putting you in the jar. It’s the little things, Charles…it’s the little things.

Charlie, I just want to let you know that I’m very grateful and blessed to have you teach me all the things I need to know to become a great journalist and a great person. I never wanted something so bad. I have never been dedicated to a job as much as what I feel for journalism right now. You haven’t just been my professor. You’ve been so much more than that. You taught me things that I’m not going to learn anywhere else. You have given me such a great opportunity to be a great writer. I know this is a bittersweet moment for both of us, because we both know I need to move to the next chapter in my life. I hope that whatever I do, whatever I write, whatever I take photos of, just know that I’m doing it to make you proud, and I hope you are and will always be proud of me.

It’s not the newsroom that changed my life. That’s where you’re wrong. It’s you, Charles, and all the people in it.

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