Final Blog

Connor Whitfill, Staff Writer

There’s a reason why no one seems to follow the career choice they say they will follow. As people get older, their tastes and preferences begin to change and warp. The same applies to me. I thought I would always hate writing and never pursue an activity that was heavily involved with it, but then I joined The Rider Online.

I first heard about The Rider Online from my god sister, Savannah Gery, who was an Editor-in-Chief for The Arena. She saw how I didn’t know what to do with my high school career and advised that I should join journalism. Without hesitation, I put Journalism I (J1) on my schedule for the sophomore year. I was anxious about my writing skills, but I was hopeful that the adviser, Leland Mallett, would guide me to write better.

While in J1, I met plenty of people who were in my sister’s grade. While I feared they would hate me at first because my sister did not have the best reputation, they all accepted me with open arms and we became great friends. I could not have picked better people to work with over the next few years. 

After I finished a full year in J1, I was faced with a huge decision that would define my life in the next few years, the choice of which branch I would join. At first, I thought broadcast suited because I liked the idea of operating a camera similar to how I used to do vlogs at a younger age. However, Mallett approached and asked if I would be interested in the newspaper program. I wanted to say no because I was not confident in my writing skills, but then Mallet praised my stories. I never heard of anyone who enjoyed my stories, so I decided to enroll in Newspaper I.

My first year with Newspaper did not go the way I thought it would. I expected to always have a load of work on my back and give up all my free time for stories. While it began that way, after the first few weeks, I learned how to manage my time and began to write stories at an efficient rate. I even had the privilege to serve under one of the best EICs in journalism. I enjoyed contributing stories to The Rider Online, however, something did not satisfy me. I realized I felt separated from the program like I did not belong there anymore. I decided to leave the program and not come back for my senior year, but then I attended the banquet. I heard the pleas from Mallet and my peers, how they wanted me to stay. My fellow staff even awarded me, Staffer of the Year, for 2021-2022. On the drive home, I decided I would once again enroll in Newspaper and drop my math class for next year.

My final year on the Newspaper staff brought me a lot of joy. I attended more events with the staff and grew even closer to them. I even made some new friends on the staff and got to show the rookies the ropes of Entertainment Journalism. I had another excellent EIC and a stronger bond with my adviser. I got to end my journalism career with the most satisfaction I have ever had in this program. 

I want to thank everyone in this program who was there to catch me as I was prepared to fall over. Thank you.