College: What it’s capable of

Jessica Alaimo

We ran to catch the last subway car home in Washington, D.C. It was Friday night, and we were coming back from the area’s most popular bar district.

At the next stop, a group of guys stumble by, and they all start singing.

“Sing us a song, Mr. Piano Man,” someone yells.

Before we knew it, everyone on the subway car is belting their hearts out to Billy Joel’s finest.

I started thinking about all the golden moments in college: The ones that grow out of spontaneity and make great stories for years to come.

I have a feeling there won’t be as many of those moments in the big-kid world.

On the first day of print beat reporting, my professor gave our class some advice that I’ve carried with me. Take every opportunity that comes up, because you might regret it if you don’t.

Throughout these four years, I’ve spent countless hours at the Stater, starting as a news correspondent and moving up to city editor.

Every summer since my sophomore year I’ve had an internship, starting out in middle-of-nowhere Ohio and then spending a summer working for the Cape Cod Times.

I did the RA gig for a couple years and, believe it or not, I was even in a sorority for a short time.

This semester I participated in the Washington Program, where I gained even more experience working for a congressional newspaper. There I learned that maybe I’ll just stick to covering politics on a local level.

I’m not Superwoman. When I tried to be, I failed miserably. This is where my advice for younger students comes in.

Sometimes I tried to do so much that it made me sick. Last year, I was so busy with school that I ignored the fact that my colitis was acting up. This put me in the hospital and set me way behind in my academics. It had lasting repercussions.

This advice comes from a random person I was talking to in the Student Center one day. You always need to take time for yourself. No matter how busy you are, you will always have time at least once a week to shut off your phone.

And you always have time to go out and have fun. Let loose every once in awhile. Sing Billy Joel songs in the middle of a subway car – or wherever you please.

As my space runs out, I guess it’s time to throw out my thank yous.

Thanks to my parents, who supported me throughout my college career. Thanks to John back home, who was always there to listen to me vent when things got to be too much. Thanks to my professors, namely Tim Smith, Barb Hipsman and Carl Schierhorn, who pushed me to the edge but were always there on the other side to keep me from falling off the cliff. Thanks to my friends on the Stater, who motivated me to keep pushing to achieve higher and higher standards.

And, most importantly, thanks to my wonderful friends off the Stater. You know who you are. All of you were there for me when my life that was consumed by the student publication became too much.

I will miss you all.

Jessica Alaimo is a senior newspaper major and a former city editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].