As I sit here writing this article, listening to Incubus’s lead singer, Brandon Boyd, croon out the song “Dig,” I begin to realize how relatable the song is to how I feel about my experiences at The Quad.
“We all have something that digs at us; at least we dig each other. So when weakness turns my ego up, I know you’ll count on me from yesterday if I turn into another. Dig me up from under what is covering the better part of me. Sing this song, remind me that we’ll always have each other when everything else is gone,” are some of the lyrics.
I was never interested in journalism as a student in high school. I was more of the theater kid, putting more effort into stage rehearsals and memorizing lines than putting effort into my writing. The newspaper was for the smart kids – the ones who wanted to be like Katie Couric or the Rory Gilmores of the world. That wasn’t the life I had planned for myself but now looking back, I couldn’t imagine my life without the addiction of article writing.
Two years ago, I began writing for The Quad. I was sitting in an English Club meeting when a former Editor-in-Chief announced that The Quad was in need of a few writers so I figured why not? and signed myself up. My first article led me to interviewing the public relations person of The Red Cross, further leading my article to be on the front page above the fold, which further led into my addiction to writing articles for the paper.
Writing articles gave me opportunities I never thought little old me would have. I was able to interview Jill McDevitt, store owner of Feminique Boutique, about her debacle into getting a branch store in the King of Prussia mall, or Downingtown’s youngest Mayor, Josh Maxwell about his days at West Chester University and his candidacy as Mayor of Downingtown.
I remember waking up one bleary morning, answering a phone call from my best friend, Ginger Rae Dunbar.
“Come to the office, you’re going to be the new Features Editor,” she said before quickly hanging up the phone. I scrambled to get myself together before dashing out of Goshen Hall and hauling it towards Sykes. Arriving breathless, I was quickly trained as the Features Editor, while Rae took over for the News section.
Being the Features Editor brought me closer to the student leaders here on-campus. Interviewing student leaders like Lori Brooks, who brought the documentary, “The Human Experience” to campus, and Colleen McHugh, who was in charge of the Genocide Conference last spring semester, was such a great experience. I made more connections with students, something I didn’t know I was capable of. As the semester was winding down, we had to make a decision on who the new Editor-in-Chief for the Fall 2011-Spring 2012 semester would be.
It is rare to find a friendship like Rae and mine. When we’re proud of each other, we let the whole world know and when Ginger Rae Dunbar earned the position of Editor-in-Chief, not only was it much deserved but it was also something that I could brag about, saying “yeah, that is right! My best friend is the new Editor-in-Chief!” She worked hard for the position and upheld that hard work through her reign.
This bumped me up to News Editor, with my best friend and roommate, Rebekah Balmer, taking over as Features Editor. I also had another best friend, Carol Fritz, get involved as the new Entertainment Editor. Together, the four of us were going to rule the world of journalism.
Being News Editor gave me something to be prideful about. I had some amazing writers and opportunities. I was able to participate in the Recreation Center Committee, meeting a variety of student leaders and staff. I even was able to gain access to a tour of the center.
The interviews kept getting better, giving me the opportunity to interview Sarah Robinson, a student who organized an entire 5K event, attending an insightful Military History Club event, and meeting two men who served in the United States Army and hearing their stories. Interviewing Dr. Lisa Millhous and attending a rally against the budget cuts is also something that was amazing to witness; seeing students take charge of their education was very powerful. Of course, these are only a few amazing moments that I got to share.
But it wasn’t just the experiences, the interviews and the articles that made my experience at The Quad more meaningful; it was the people. I have never been as blessed as I am to have worked with an amazing group of people. On Tuesdays and Sundays, we would all come in together, ready to start work in the world of student journalism. I am not sure what I would have done without Photography Editor, Jess Guzzardo and her constant reassurance that we were all doing our jobs correctly, or Lukas ‘the shark’ Jenkins making sure we were crediting our photos correctly. It wouldn’t have been a Tuesday without hearing Opinion-Editorial editor, Bill Hanrahan’s rants on the politics of the world, or Sports Editor, Kenny Ayres and his passion for all things sports related. Sundays wouldn’t have been the same without Sports Assistant Editor, Byrnn Dougherty, and her wonderful sense of humor and ability to make everyone smile. Without our copy-editors, Bethany Van de Water, Kelly Adams, and Samantha Schaule, we would be a paper with a lot of mistakes. However, this entire publication wouldn’t be the same without our advisor, Dr. Philip Thompson. Without his advice, dedication, and passion for the paper, we would probably still be cursing at the printer to work and distressing over our layouts. And at the end of the day, our paper wouldn’t be online without our talented and brilliant Online Editor, Laura Blyton or have as much success without our Advertising Manager, Mike Mills and Business Manager, Erica Brooks.
People sometimes don’t understand the process of putting a paper together. It isn’t magic and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but without a good team, this paper wouldn’t be as successful as it currently is.
I look back on my first semester at WCU and I couldn’t imagine myself coming this far. I am so proud of this paper and I love to share it with every one. Seeing others reading The Quad in between class breaks is one of those things that makes me so happy. I laugh thinking about the time that one of my favorite professors had The Quad on her desk and how happy I was to see someone I respect, reading something that the editorial staff and writers worked so hard on.
I know at orientation, the phrase “get involved” is thrown around a lot. It may seem redundant, but it is not. It is the best advice anyone could give you on campus. WCU has the ability to change your life. The leadership skills you learn here could send you to successful places. You never know what connections you could make and people you could meet that could change your life, or become your best friend for life.
Fortunately for me, I am one of the lucky few who got to the privilege to work with all of her best friends. The best part is that I know that “we’ll always have each other when everything else is gone.”
Angela Thomas is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at AT683005@wcupa.edu. 

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