Photojournalist recalls time spent on campus newspaper

by CHESANIE BRANTLEY//Editor-in-Chief

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A small, scared freshman college student walks into a classroom. There are people laying on the table and the floor, and a man behind the podium is joking around with students.

My first experience in the newsroom was during Senior Sneak Peek. I sat in a chair, and there were four people at the front of the room and Charlie Ehrenfeld at a podium to the side. They were all at the front talking about how the newsroom will change your life, and I honestly just blew it off. I already knew I was going to come to South Plains College for a Photojournalism degree. I was really just there because I got out of school for a day and I could hang out with my boyfriend Adam.

Little did I know how much this room would actually change my life. It is not something that can be put into words, and if you have never experienced it, you could never understand. My very first story was a feature on a 16-year-old guy who was attending SPC, and that is where it all started.

This is the hard part.

This is the part where I talk about the people who CM 130 brought together, and how I made my best friends here.

Dariella Hernandez and I have a special connection through our favorite sitcoms, “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.” I would trust any of her recommendations because she obviously has good taste in not only TV shows, but also fashion. I love Brandi Ortiz’ spirit. She is so spunky and does this awesome little run that literally no one else could do like her.

Matt Molinar is simply fabulous, and he knows it, plus we are basically the same person, because we both can drive a standard (*insert iPhone emoji girl with hand out.*) Mallory Carver is seriously the cutest person I have ever met, and she shares a deep love for elephants like I do. So, that means she is also my favorite person in the world.

Riley Golden is hilarious. I don’t know how else to describe him. He can always be counted on to make someone smile. We bonded over our love for “Star Wars,” and he always shares the latest news on the series with me. Sara Marshall is the photo editor, and her layout for our Spotlight pages are spot on (*insert Nicole’s “Haha, get it?”*). She is going to do great at whatever she sets her mind to.

Jonathan Brookshire is the Social Media Coordinator for the Plainsman Press. He also works at Kohl’s and will tell you when there are sales all the time. That is seriously the coolest thing ever when you are a broke college student in need of new clothes. Jonathan, I will not mention what you did your very first Paper Night, but I do not think I have ever laughed that hard. You have such a cool vibe, and I am really going to miss you making me laugh all the time.

Skylar Hernandez (or Shamoomoo as Billy Alonzo liked to call her) is my person. We became really close in the Fall semester of 2015, when we started working together. She is my newsroom wife and the person I know I could come to with anything and she would be there for me. She is strong willed and not afraid to speak her mind. Skylar is an astounding photographer, and she is going to do amazing things with her career.

Nick Roy Alvarado is like everyone’s weatherman/sports updater. I think it is really cool that you have your own online publication, and it is obvious you work hard to keep it up and going. I hope I leave you with the knowledge of what a double negative is, and you never make that mistake again.

Jayme Lozano is an amazing writer, and she knows it. Her confidence is contagious. Just being around her will make anyone feel like they can do anything. Jayme, you taught me everything I know about being Editor-in-Chief, but being your friend is way better than just your student.

Devin Reyna also is an awesome photographer. She has an eye for sports and action shots. Devin, you are the creator of the Savage Squad, and it was one of the funniest things that happened at TIPA 2016. Brittany Brown is the one person anyone can count on to tell it how it is. She will rip into anyone who talks about Beyonce in a negative way, so do not even try it.

Jenny Garza, gravity is not your friend. But it has taught you how to laugh at yourself and let the little things roll off. That is one of your best features. You are also an awesome photographer. You were my first newsroom friend, and I am so grateful for that first time you asked me to go on the Sonic run with you. Jenny, you have been there for me through this extremely tough semester, and I am so glad you listened to my complaining (even when you probably just tuned me out). Your friendship means a lot to me, and I hope you never forget that.

Nicole Trugillo and I have become very close since we became co Editor-in-Chiefs. She aspires to do great things, and she will. Her strong will is going to take her places, and her move to California is only the beginning. She is an amazing writer in any subject, and will always get the job done. Nicole, I am so happy for you and Ralph Lopez, and I know you both have an amazing journey ahead of you. You have been a great friend to me, and I am so glad I get to spend my last semester with you by my side. I am going to miss ganging up on UA with you on Paper Nights, laughing until I can barely breathe, and being a part of the Savage Squad with you.

JoshUA Ramirez, you can turn an awkward situation around on a dime, which is great, because I am terrible at that. UA, you are one of the best sports writers I’ve seen, and you already know you are going to go on to do great things. We started on the Plainsman Press staff together, and the only time we spoke that whole first semester was when you called me the wrong name. I guess I can forgive you for all of those times now, though. But, now you are one of my closest friends. You are a bit of an animal at times, though, and no, right outside the Communication Building’s door is not the wilderness, and it will never be (GOT THEM). I am really going to miss you being tense and having Savage Tuesday with the Savage Squad #exclusive-T.

Billy Alonzo is the leader of the TV kids, but that is OK. He is half of the Gentlemen Travelers, and never fails to make everyone in the newsroom smile when he walks in. He always has an answer for any question you ask him, and he is always available to give any kind of advice that you need. Billy, you are more than just one of the professors at SPC. You are my friend, and I am going to miss you.

Charlie Ehrenfeld is the advisor for the Plainsman Press and the other half of the Gentlemen Travelers. Charlie, I know I give you sass every single day you talk to me, but if I did not, you would think I was upset with you. You are the person who lets everyone know what the newsroom can do for him or her, but no one ever believes it until he or she experiences it. Even though we fight almost every day about something, I am going to miss it. You taught me more than just about journalism. You taught me how to be more dependable, how to get the job done in a short amount of time, and how to speak my mind on any subject. I learned who I really was in that newsroom, and that is all thanks to you and the environment you provided.

That first day I walked in the newsroom, I was terrified. I was there with all of these talented people, and they just threw us in the mix and I learned by doing. I was very quiet and shy when I started here, and anyone can tell you that. Now, I am not afraid to tell anyone what I am thinking, and I do not get near as nervous about talking in front of people like I used to. But, this room honestly did not do anything except be a room. The people in that room are who really had an impact on my life. Whether or not they realized it, they all helped me to be comfortable with who I am, helped me to learn to speak my mind, and just be me no matter who was around.  I hope that I impacted all of your lives a fraction as much as you all have impacted mine.

For all of those little things, I will be forever grateful for those people who happened to come into CM 130.

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