John goodbye grad pic (portrait)

Switching my major two years into college meant essentially starting over. Most of the 30-plus credits I had earned toward an architecture degree would, thankfully, still count as electives, but if I wanted to graduate on time with a bachelors in multimedia journalism, I had to get serious. And, in part, getting serious meant creating a name for myself as a journalist.

But my story with the Collegiate Times is not really about taking the steps necessary to get me up-to-speed in my new career path. Rather, it’s about finding the beautiful family I never knew I had in an unexpected place.

I felt like a complete fish out of water the first time I attended Sunday production as assistant lifestyles editor under the wonderful Katelyn Meade. Many of the people in the newsroom had been involved with the CT for nearly as long as they’d been at Virginia Tech, and I only knew one person on editorial staff: Matt Jones, editor in chief at the time. I was worried that I had jumped into my commitment to the CT far too quickly — I had no prior experience editing for a student-run publication, much less writing for one — and felt that I would struggle to prove myself, be taken seriously and make friends.

The Collegiate Times proved me triply wrong.

When you’re part of something as big and diverse as the Collegiate Times, you find something in common with — or at the very least, something to love about — just about everyone. Before long, I felt more accepted and at home than I expected I would, and found myself laughing, relating and bonding with just about everyone on staff over something.

During the next two years, I would grow close to Mike and Meg over our struggles in Dr. Hopkins’ comm law class; with Izzy over Donald Glover and our predictions about the next Marvel movie; with Neha and Ashley over “New Girl”; with Emily during belly-laugh-filled headline writing sessions; with Justin and Robby over a love for movies; and with Jess over being the dads of our respective relationships.

And for all of those little joys I’ve gotten to share with the rest of staff, above all I appreciate the one huge joy we share as a CT family: a love for telling stories, for sharing ideas and for the Hokie community. My time with and love for the Collegiate Times has even led me to pursue a postgraduate career as a newspaper reporter, so that ought to say something.

I am a better man, journalist and friend because of my time as your lifestyles editor. God bless the Collegiate Times, God bless Virginia Tech, and God bless Ot Prosim.

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