One of my favorite aspects about being a student journalist has been meeting new people and learning about what they do. I recently won the Mary Anderson Media Award for my contributions to the student media and in the nomination letter, it said that my writing has given a voice to the voiceless. I don’t believe that my experiences would have been the same if it wasn’t for the people I’ve met or worked with.
Angela Thomas, now the former News Editor, has been such a great supporter of The Quad staff, and she has been my full throttle in supporting me through the work I’ve done this year.
Dr. Phil Thompsen, has been a great friend as well as advisor of the newspaper. Dr. T., as we like to call him, has stood by me and helped me learn to articulate reasons for decisions I made and therefore, I could stand by my editorial decisions. Without realizing it, he has helped me learn to be a student leader and taught me to evaluate every angle of a situation. I’ve applied this to my writing and in executive decisions. Overall, he has been a savior for technical difficulties. He’s been a great listener and his transparency has allowed the students to literally run the student-media. That’s one reason why The Quad has been such a great learning experience for me and for every editor that has worked with Dr. T.
I’m not so sure that I would have taken chances in asking for a number of interviews if I was not challenged or encouraged to do so, whether it was for a class assignment or an idea I discussed with my Editor. Much like being raised by my parents, my journalism classes have taught me the rules and boundaries in journalism reporting. I don’t understand how my parents taught me to grow and how I’ve become a better person because of them. Then in college, one day I sat in class with Professor Bauerlein to learn AP style in the journalism program and then soon after, I wrote features and news stories each week for the school newspaper. I’ve talked to friends about articles I’ve written and articles I’ve read, letting them know of the stories. My one friend told me how interesting she thought my life is as a student journalist, and she wished me the best of luck in the future with continuing to report. During this conversation, she asked who I would be interviewing and what I would be writing about. After I told her, her response was, “so you interviewed a lawyer and a police officer this week, who are you going to interview next week?” It reminded me of the fruit-roll up commercials with the kids asking, “what will they think of next?”
I’ve gotten so accustomed to talking about upcoming interviews that I didn’t realize how my conversations sounded out of context. I was making plans with one of my friends to visit West Chester and on the day we picked, I had an interview in the morning. I told her that I would be free after I talked with a marriage counselor. I didn’t think much of this until I heard her laugh and ask if I was anticipating problems in the future. When I realized I left out the detail of this meeting being an interview, I playfully apologized for not inviting her to the wedding.
Throughout all of my experiences, I think I enjoyed most of my time in the Quad office with the presence of the other editors. This year alone is a huge turn-over of staff members, almost double the amount of those that graduated last year, which at the time was a record amount of out-going staff members. I have a scrapbook of clips that I can look back at over the years to remind me of what I’ve done and accomplished. My time at WCU and in the office has been a true memory that I want to keep. I could say I’m proud of myself for doing X or writing Y, but I’m really proud of the people that I’ve worked with over the years. I’m proud to talk about the Golden Ram alumni that worked on staff with me. I look forward to hearing of the great accomplishments the other staff members achieve.
Everyone that I’ve worked with has grown and will continue to grow. I have had the chance to interact and work with other student leaders, enabling us to learn from one another. As a student leader, you can be looked up to as a role model. Especially this year, working closely with the other section editors, I take the time to tell them how I appreciate the work they put into the newspaper each week. While one editor or writer is telling me how proud they are of me, I’m already telling them I’m proud of them and their hard work. As the last issue of the academic year will sit on stands and I will retire from The Quad, as a staff writer, to put my hands at work somewhere else. Like the other editors and writers of The Quad, I will continue my experiences that will bring me to meet more people and to learn of how they affect the community. The journey will continue after graduation, with phones calls about work and life after college. Phone calls will have to make-due since our careers could separate us by the miles. As we move on, I hope to find the same connections and bonds with co-workers in my new job, as I had at WCU and in the office.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a fifth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD 655287@wcupa.edu. 

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