Transferring to Florida A&M University I never thought my job would be to rebuild a legacy. I went from stepping on the “Hill” and trying to adapt to new a scenery with no friends, to being one of the people that most of the students look up to.
It was Spring 15 when I got my first taste of what I could become in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communications, or “J School” as we call it.
I had a class that required me to get published in The Famuan in order to pass the course. Not knowing much about the award-winning publication, I was hesitant and slightly intimidated to get involved.
I still remember when my first article got published on Feb. 19, a moment that made me realize – not to sound cliché – “you get out, what you put in.” Earning my first byline and seeing Reggie Mizell on The Famuan website made me want to work more, so I did during the summer.
For the first time ever The Famuan was publishing articles in the summer and I was asked by other students to be an editor along with others; this is when I began to see my purpose in J School.
This was something that was new to me, I had no problem editing my own work, but to have someone put their trust in me to edit other articles was a big deal. With much uncertainty, I did not know what to expect from this temporary position.
I enjoyed helping students so much that I made my own hours, like a job. I would stay in there from 12-5 p.m., with my now managing editor, Yulita Howard, Monday through Friday and students began to associate my face as one of the main editors.
I was finally asked the question, “are you going to be Editor-in Chief for the fall?” My initial answer was no. What did I possibly know about running a newspaper?
That was the question I asked myself everyday until the Fall 15 semester started and I involuntarily got my answer from professor Maurice Johnson.
“I just put it on the line for you in this faculty meeting because I know you can handle it. This could be the beginning of something big. Professor Douglas Blackburn is ready to work with you and Dr. Valerie White said she had no problem with you as a leader.”
There are two people in J School, Dr. White and Dr. Dhyana Ziegler, who, if they support you then you must be doing something right. So instead of questioning my abilities to run a newspaper, I accepted what was coming my way and in hindsight, the chain of events in the summer was preparing me for that position all along.
At first glance, many wondered, who was this guy who suddenly showed up on the scene and took over a high ranking position. Others wondered if i was able to handle such a pivotal job.
To make a very long story short, I faced many challenges in my first semester as EIC trying to prove myself. From a controversial editorial with Journey Magazine’s EIC, TyLisa Johnson, to printing the first newspaper in nearly two years.
In the midst of the challenges, I also made connections with a talented student body – more good than bad – and gained respect from a supportive journalism faculty.
I wish I could carry on about how great my experience was with The Famuan, I garnered such an appreciation for this organization I feel like I’m about to leave my child behind. The long hours editing and the 6 a.m. capstone portfolio preparations are what I will treasure the most.
It taught me to be selfless and not selfish. I learned through trial and error that a true leader knows who they are and what they stand for. For that, I’m thankful.
I’m thankful for the students who put their trust in me to represent an award-winning organization. I’m thankful for the supportive journalism faculty that stood behind me when outside entities attempted to use their power to downplay the importance of student media.
If I could do it all over again, I would not change a thing within my nine months as editor-in-chief because it has molded me into a person who is ready for life after graduation.
It’s a bittersweet feeling that it is almost over, but I believe that with every ending, is a new beginning. I know the future of The Famuan will continue to be great after I leave.
Thank you, Famuan. You are forever a part of me.