Leaving TJC with nothing but gratitude

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By Chris Swann

Design & Photo Editor

I keep thinking about the last time I’m ever going to walk through the doors of the newsroom, see the desk of the studio and the faces of the people I’ve worked with for over a year and I can safely say I am not ready for it. 

My time at The DrumBeat has seen all kinds of moments. For nearly two years, I’ve experienced many stress-filled weeks and production nights, but many joyful experiences of freely expressing my creativity. There have been plenty of faces that have come and gone, but also some that have stuck around since the very beginning. 

But the most important kinds of moments are the ones that helped me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life, and the memories with friends I will always cherish. 

Even though I’m moving on to new things, and potentially better opportunities, I still feel the anxious butterflies in my chest when I have to think about starting fresh with a new group of people in a new environment. It’s almost like I don’t want to.

The friends I’ve made through this organization are the ones I hold the utmost respect for. I’ve worked with some of the smartest, most determined and creative people I have ever met.

I’ve worked with two completely different sets of staff. Both in which I hold the highest degree. 

My first year, I was just getting my feet wet, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. Not only did I not know a lot of people, but I also didn’t know the potential I had within myself. My advisers and other staff members pushed me to do more than only photography and get into the world of writing, which I was very afraid of. They helped me become more comfortable on the team and prepared me for the road ahead.

This year, the majority of the staff had graduated or left, and me along with a few others were left to continue what they had been building. I quit marching band to put all my energy into my new positions, and put all my creative force into helping make something I knew I could be proud of. 

Photo by Chris Swann

I was graciously allowed to put my spin on the newspaper’s design, and the process was so rewarding. I finally realized visual journalism was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I started writing more, and learned how to be a better journalist and designer. And now as the pages of this chapter of my collegiate career come to a close, I can only describe how I feel in one word: Gracious.

I’m so gracious to the advisers who constantly pushed me to be the best I can be. They saw the potential in me and helped get to where I am now. They take pride in making sure their students are ready for the real world by the time they walk out the door. They are my mentors and I cannot be more thankful for how they have helped me in my life and start my career.

I’m thankful for the ones who were there from the very beginning. They were the ones who served as an example of how one should professionally carry themselves, while being able to relax and have fun when they can. They showed me the ins and outs of the journalistic world and how fun it can be. Their legacy shouldn’t go unnoticed, and I hope they’re proud of the work we’ve done.

I’m thankful for the new ones who joined after the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Those are the people who make coming into the newsroom/studio every day such an amazing experience, and the same ones I’ve shared many incredible memories with. They work so hard and have inspiringly propelled this organization to another level. Those people are the ones who make it so hard to leave.

I hope to keep in touch with everyone after I’m gone along with the ones who’ve already left. I hope one day I can see their names on local/national television, or read their names in articles from big publications. Most importantly, I just want to see them succeed in whatever endeavor they’re pursuing. 

As for myself, I only feel comfort knowing what I want to do with my life. I hope to succeed in my field enough to where I can live comfortably and put food on the table, but I also want to enjoy working as much as I have enjoyed it here. This has been an experience unlike any other, and if I can achieve even an inkling of the joy I’ve felt being a part of this organization, then I know I’ll be in a good place.