Ever since I was a young teenager, Syracuse was the school I knew I would go to. I didn’t hope. I didn’t think. No, I knew. But I knew I would have to take a detour because my SAT scores were not up to par in order to enroll to the exclusive S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse.
So, I applied to three schools – Syracuse, Farmingdale and Scranton (because a few friends were going there). Once I received a letter from Syracuse with a nice rejection notice, the little glimmer of hope that I had vanished and I knew that I would in fact have to do it the hard way. But I would still be going to Syracuse after only one year commuting to SUNY Farmingdale. That was the hope.
I worked my butt off as I said goodbye to all of my friends who went off to college and made new friends. Because I knew that I would be an Orangeman beginning my sophomore year, I went out of my way to NOT make friends at Farmingdale. Why, you ask? Well, I didn’t want to have to say goodbye after just one year.
The only friends that I made were the professors. I would go to their office hours at least once a week to make sure that my grades did not slip past an A. Once the year finished, I had a 3.94 grade point average. That should be good enough to get into the Newhouse school at Syracuse, right? No, it wasn’t – and to say I was devastated would be an understatement.
Luckily, I applied to UConn on a whim. Although I had never stepped foot in Connecticut, I applied to the state’s most prestigious public university. The main reason was that they had a school newspaper, a very good journalism program and the women’s basketball team was coached by the best coach of any sport, ever, Geno Auriemma. Still, I never thought that I would actually go there.
My acceptance letter to UConn came before the letter I received from Syracuse. I remember when I opened that letter, I could not have been happier. My family was so ecstatic and to be honest, I think they knew that was where I would decide to go before I knew myself. It was a relief in a sense because I knew that I would definitely be going away to school and would be able to study journalism.
Then my Syracuse letter came. It was in a big envelope. I thought to myself, finally all the hard work paid off. The letter congratulated me for getting into Syracuse, but not to the Newhouse school. Well, my initial thought was that I would go there and work my butt off again and transfer into the Newhouse school.
Finally, I realized that I needed to kickstart my journalism career and that would be at UConn. A school that I never visited, toured or even knew where it was. But I did know it would be my home for the next three years. So, I sent my deposit and the rest is history.
The first time I came to UConn was for orientation. My group was quiet, but so was I. Finally it became time for me to interact with my advisor for pre-journalism, Terese Karmel, who recently passed away. She was absolutely electric. We immediately hit it off and bonded over our love for baseball. She even took me up to the journalism labs and gave me the name and contact information to the student newspaper, called The Daily Campus.
I reached out to then-sports editor Dan Madigan. He was terrific and despite the fact that I would have stayed on even if the sports editor was a curmudgeon, he strengthened my passion. He assigned me to my first beat covering the softball team. My experience covering softball was unbelievable. The head coach Jen McIntyre was always so welcoming and friendly. The sports information director was Steve Lewis – he was so helpful.
That was all I wanted to do. I loved covering the team and watching those battles in the brutal northeastern weather with my fellow beat reporters – Rachel Schaefer and Andrew Morrison. I would go on to cover volleyball, women’s hockey and baseball in my junior year. I can’t thank those coaches or teams enough for taking time out of their busy schedules to talk to me. I hope I returned the favor through my writing.
Heading into my senior year, I had hoped to cover those same teams, which I enjoyed thoroughly. Then, editor-in-chief Chris Hanna suggested that I apply for sports editor. “Yeah, sure, whatever,” I thought. But, I applied and enjoyed a terrific interview. Two days later, I think, I found out I got the gig. That was surreal. I really cannot put it into words. Thank you Chris for sending me that email suggesting to apply, I wouldn’t have done it without your guidance.
This year, I covered the women’s basketball team. I travelled to Tampa for the Final Four, interviewed Geno Auriemma and his unbelievable team dozens of times. And let me tell you, they are as welcoming as any team at UConn.
But the best thing I got to do this year is help my peers. I hope that I gave my staff an increased passion, motivation and excitement to cover every team that they covered. I hope that they looked forward to those Sunday meetings at 8 p.m. even though they would miss the New England Patriots, New York Jets or New York Giants game, whatever it was.
I would like to thank all of the coaches, athletes and staff’s that I have dealt with over the years. Thank you to the sports information directors, Jalen Manning, Pat McKenna, Phil Chardis, Asha Evans, Bill Peterson and Anna LaBonte. Your assistance and coordination helped to make my job easier and more delightful.
I am so happy with what the section accomplished this year. As a collective group, we have covered over a dozen teams, written articles on players with inspiring stories, recruits and Husky alumni. We accomplished everything I could’ve hoped for this year.
I want to wish incoming sports editor Andrew Morrison and incoming associate sports editor Kevin Arnold good luck. You will do phenomenal, just continue to push each other to new heights. To the sports section as a whole, pitch your story ideas because they are always valid. And even though I won’t be at the meetings on Sunday nights cracking stupid jokes, please know that I am always here for each one of you. It will never be a bother.
Thank you to Steph Sheehan, who despite working a gazillion hours a week, still stopped by our sports meetings and dropped her signature hot takes. You are a superstar and I can’t wait to continue to read your bylines. Thank you to Bryan Lambert for taking every story imaginable and being one of the most unique personalities I have ever met. Thank you to Matt Barresi who always had a phenomenal feature story in the tank to help fill up the back pages, you will do great things. Although, I can’t name drop everyone who has ever helped me at The Daily Campus, please know that I am grateful to each and every one of you.
While I never did get to enroll at Syracuse, I thank them for those rejection letters because it taught me that I have to always push myself no matter what. In fact, I still have those letters in my folder to remind me that nothing comes easy.
I can’t imagine spending the three best years of my life anywhere else. So, thank you UConn and more importantly, thanks to The Daily Campus.
Michael Logan is the sports editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.