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A senior reflection: Kelly Baker

Photo by Samantha Walsh.

Writing about oneself can often be difficult, as I’m sure many people will agree. Even when put into the context of their occupation, such as my tenure with The Quad newspaper, the question is still daunting to answer. With my last semester coming to a close, I’ve been given the opportunity to try to reflect on my time spent with The Quad. Some of these questions that I ask myself are similar to those asked by me to our former managing editor, Ashley Martindale, so I ask you, dear readers, to indulge me in a bit of naval gazing.

By being part of The Quad, I felt like I found a place to belong to, which I think is something that everyone, regardless of age, deeply desires.

Why did I join the Quad?

In order to answer this question, I have to go back to 2017. In February, I had just recently seen the live-action adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell.” I had so many feelings about the motion-picture that I needed to let out, and it felt like simply talking about it wasn’t enough. I needed to get my thoughts out on paper. I was already part of WCU’s very own Creative Writing Club, but I wasn’t interested in writing some poetry, which I flounder at, or a short story. I needed to write a review. For years, I have read the reviews by Roger Ebert for movies, and I felt compelled to do the same.

So, I sat down on the second floor near the computers of the Francis Harvey Green Library and typed out my own review for Rupert Sander’s “Ghost in the Shell.” I then reached out to the then entertainment editor, Eric Ryan, to publish it. After reading it, and being embarrassed by the typos, it later encouraged me to pursue a minor in journalism. Ironically enough, I wouldn’t become a staff writer for the quad until 2018. I want to thank Charles Bauerline for helping me with that!

What’s my favorite article I’ve done with the Quad?

Hard to say, really. Looking back, each article I’ve written for the Entertainment, Op-Ed, Features and even News sections are all important to me, as they all make up my portfolio. If I really must choose though, I would say the article I did on the anniversary of the APSCUF strike of 2016, or the review I wrote for “The Lighthouse.” The article I wrote about the APSCUF strike is important to me as my first real step into writing about the news. I decided to write about the strike as I was at the time taking a journalism class on public affairs, and I wanted to write about more political stuff for a while. For the article, I wasn’t interested in getting PASSHE’s perspective since they were all the way in Harrisburg, but meanwhile, APSCUF, the teacher’s union, was right there on campus. I set out to interview key members involved with the strike, not just because it was a two year anniversary, but also because they were negotiating with PASSHE for a new contract. It’s also because of that article that I got my first piece of hate mail!

Working with this student news service, I have met so many incredible people, who, with such passion, have dedicated themselves to their work here.

As for “The Lighthouse” review, I had rarely done any movie reviews for the Entertainment section, and because the trailer intrigued me so much, I told Chris, the current editor for the Entertainment section, that I would choose that for my article. After seeing the film that Thursday, and doing the new work that night, and sending it out for publishing, I was shocked to hear the compliments I got for it. I rarely had gotten any feedback for my work, so it felt wonderful to hear that praise from our readers, especially a certain marketing professor, and an English professor at the university.

Why did I choose West Chester University?

Prior to transferring here, I was a student at Penn State University Brandywine. I already picked my major, English writings, but I didn’t feel comfortable there. It was a commuter campus, so there was little to no community there. Students simply went to class, did their homework, attended club meetings and then left. I needed to go to a college that I felt like was a home away from home, and so West Chester University, since I was a local anyways, seemed like the right fit. So, I transferred here in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.

How do I feel about my time with The Quad?

As Ashley put it in her interview, being part of The Quad has been a fantastic experience. Working with this student news service, I have met so many incredible people, who have such passion and are dedicated to their work here. By being part of The Quad, I felt like I found a place to belong, which I think is something that everyone, regardless of age, deeply desires. I enjoyed my time here so much that the staff meetings on Tuesday were some of my favorite times of the week. It is sad that I must leave The Quad soon, but I will always think highly of this little family. My only regret is that I didn’t join sooner.

Kelly Baker is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and film criticism. KB819687@wcupa.edu

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