To be honest, I’m not totally sure what I’m supposed to write. It’s still surreal that it’s my time to leave UConn.
Graduating high school felt weird enough. When you first figure out your graduation year sometime in early middle school, you think, “Oh, 2016? That’s SO far away.” Then it comes and goes and it’s onto college where 2020 sounds even further off in the future. “That’s next decade,” you tell yourself.
Well here we are.
I think David Gilmour and the rest of Pink Floyd put it best in their song “Time”, one of my favorites.
“You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
Though I don’t think I “missed the starting gun,” at UConn, I sure as hell was not prepared for how challenging the transition would be, and the last four years, not quite 10, have flown by.
The funny thing is that I didn’t even want to tour the campus let alone be a student here. I came to campus in the spring of my junior year in high school for a tour. I had written it off before our hour drive to the Basketball Capital of the World was finished.
“It’s too big,” I said as I eyed the smaller classroom sizes at Eastern Connecticut State and Fairfield.
Even after the tour concluded I wasn’t sold. I was dead set on being at Stag in Fairfield County.
Money talks, as the saying goes, so UConn and its price point came back into the picture. I came back to be a Husky for a Day to test the waters again at the miniature city in the middle of cow country.
I was ready to buy a hat, a sweatshirt, all the Husky gear before I even committed. I’m still not sure what about that day convinced me that this was the school for me, but I know I did not make a mistake.
Going away to school, even if it is just an hour from home, is supposed to allow you to grow and learn about yourself. While we as students may dread waking up for a specific class or pray for snow days, school is supposed to be where you find your passion and run with it. And I have.
I moved into my freshman dorm as a computer science major. After a tough run in with my intro CompSci class and good ole Calculus I, I went home for Christmas firmly on academic probation and with a new major.
Thankfully, I realized early on I hated what I was doing. I couldn’t imagine myself feeling fulfilled by staring at a screen for hours on end and using high-level mathematics. I knew I loved sports. My high school football career proved I wouldn’t be going pro anytime soon and my biology grade made sure athletic training wasn’t my path either, so I decided to write.
I spent a semester just trying to be a good student. Thanks to Kurt Daigle and the Academic Achievement Center, my probation was lifted at the end of my freshman year. What started as a 1.9 GPA is now somewhere north of a 3.0 with a degree in journalism and a minor in communication.
Sophomore year rolled around and I knew I needed to get involved, so naturally I went to The Daily Campus and the old wooden back staircase everyone always mentions in their senior columns. I was just as nervous as anyone else starting out. The building was loud and full of people who already knew each other, so I kept quiet and sat in the corner for sports meetings (when I actually made the walk from my dorm in North).
I mostly just participated in the weekly roundtables that semester, not writing much else. I’m not sure what Tyler Keating or Chris Hanna — the sports editor and associate editor at the time — saw in me, but they were confident enough in me to let me cover softball as my first beat that spring. I was beyond thrilled to cover a sport that wasn’t golf or tennis, like most new writers get, and it was something I knew a lot about already.
I sat alongside Luke Swanson, who bravely dealt with my early ineptitudes, with scorecards in hand in the middle of some super cold Storrs spring games. There were some tough losses, but personally, that season was a big win for me.
Then the following fall I became a staff writer and covered field hockey, men’s ice hockey (shoutout Bryan Lambert just because) and baseball. Though field hockey was totally new to me, it quickly became one of my favorites alongside the #IceBus and Jim Penders’ baseball squad, which had been my dream beat.
I have to give a big thanks to Mike Logan for pushing me to be great. Besides being a friend, he made sure I became a part of the staff and pushed for high quality stories, specifically features. Whether he knew it or not, his habits influenced mine and I would not have had as successful a senior year if not for him.
And senior year was, mostly, great. Covering field hockey again was awesome, not to mention the restoration of the men’s basketball team. I covered both with our now outgoing editor Andrew Morrison. I’m sure I gave him a headache from time to time (you’re welcome for all the rides), but I think we were able to collaborate really well and lead sports to an *unofficial* third-consecutive year as the DC’s best section. Though the year was shortened, we still accomplished great things, like starting the Huskies’ Tribune. We’ll have to grab a drink at Ted’s some time when it opens again.
Without any of the people I mentioned, I’m not in the spot I am right now, and that’s what makes the DC so great. It’s a family atmosphere that you have to insert yourself into and just be yourself. From crazy, debate-filled sports meetings to late nights at production, you learn a lot about people who start out as just co-workers. By the end of it, you’re looking forward to that walk to the Sunday night meeting or taking that 7/11 break in the middle of your Wednesday design shift. You get lost in the little moments and before you know it, it’s time for the staff trip to the Vernon Diner or the banquet ⎯ even if they are over Zoom.
A big thank you to Anna, Alex and the rest of the editors for helping keep the family vibes strong this year. You all helped make my experience at the DC a great one.
Speaking of family, shoutout to sports! You all have been nothing short of awesome to work with. You made my and Andrew’s jobs easy, fun and memorable. I have the utmost confidence in Danny and Conner leading the way for next year’s crew and what you all can accomplish. Jorge and Mike, make sure the power doesn’t go too much to their heads and drink plenty of ‘Zonas. I’m going to miss you all ⎯ missed mini-hoops shots, confiscated footballs and all.
Well, I guess I figured out what to write. It turned out to be a bit of a ramble, but it’s still shorter than most of Sean’s columns (you didn’t think I’d forget about you, did you?). I leave UConn under less-than-ideal circumstances, but with some fantastic memories nonetheless, and a lot of them were because of The Daily Campus.
Here’s one more quote from Floyd.
“The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.”