Emily Carter Grad

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. At first, I wanted to be the next J.K. Rowling, but realizing that would be next to impossible, I switched my career goals to journalism after enrolling in communications courses in high school. Ever since committing to Virginia Tech four years ago, I wanted to join the Collegiate Times. Little freshman me had no idea what was in store the first time I set foot in the newsroom, which seemed ginormous to me at the time.

I started as a news writer, after realizing it wasn’t the right fit for me, I moved to lifestyles. I was a staff writer for about a year and was promoted to Co-Lifestyles Editor with the lovely Breanna Knotts; my senior year, I was all alone as Lifestyles Editor, but I was up for the challenge. And boy, was it a struggle. There were times when I stared at the screen trying to come up with headlines with my eyes glazed over. I sometimes wanted to pull out my hair and fling my computer across the room. But I got through those times and became a better writer and editor because of them.

Every Sunday I looked forward to production in the newsroom. All the schoolwork and stress that I had melted away for a few hours as I worked with my friends on something I was passionate about. I will forever be grateful for the days spent in the newsroom, the experience and the friendships I made along the way.

I met my close friends Design Editor Heather Trobridge, Managing Editor Emily Hannah and former Editor-in-Chief Ashley Long at the end-of-the-year CT party my freshman year. I was terrified to go because it was my first “college party,” but something told me I had to go. I met the three of them and we made a pact that night to become best friends. We still are, and I am so glad I attended that party. The four of us have celebrated birthdays, had many Taylor Swift sing-a-longs and attended every CT party since that night in April 2018.

I met my best friend, former Opinions Editor Donya Momenian, at Gobblerfest my junior year. We clicked instantly, and for the past two years she has been there to try new foods with, talk about Spanish TV shows on Netflix and has always picked up the phone when I needed to rant or tell her what extremely embarrassing thing happened to me that day. There were many Sundays at productions where we got nothing done because we talked way too much. I worked on my first long-form story with her and there’s no one I’d rather have worked on that story with. That was the first time I felt like a real “journalist.”

The Collegiate Times gave me the opportunity to grow my life skills to take into the real world. Interviewing subjects taught me how to be a good listener. Writing headlines allowed me to be creative and I learned that first impressions are everything. Being a leader of a team showed me how to communicate effectively and how to be firm with writers.

Thanks to the CT, I’ve been able to talk to the most interesting people I wouldn’t have known outside of the paper. I’ve found that I have a knack for satire writing. I’ve written many, many articles on Taylor Swift. I’ve even written stories on the strangest things happening at VT, including an obituary for a squirrel. The CT gave me an outlet to express myself and gave me a refreshing break between assignments.

If I have one piece of advice for incoming freshmen or even seniors, it would be to get involved in something you are passionate about, even if it’s not in your major. If you’re an English major, join a coding club; if you’re a computer science major, join the dance team. It’s important to take a break from schoolwork and do something fulfilling that isn’t binging Netflix. You’ll learn some life skills and who knows? You might even meet your best friends.

As I look back on my college career, I don’t remember the nights I spent working on papers and studying for tests. Most of the memories I have are of times spent in the newsroom and I am so thankful that I was on the staff of the Collegiate Times all four years I was at Virginia Tech.

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