I can not believe I got to this Point
Sam Tapper – Editor-in-Chief
As soon as I got to campus as a freshman, I was afraid to get involved in my major. I still had no idea what I wanted to do yet and I had no clue what I would be any good had.
Fast forward to my sophomore year. I was taking Dr. Simon’s Journalism 200 course and had learned I really was not terrible at journalistic writing. Despite that, he always told me I needed to get involved with the campus media if I had any hope of having a future in journalism. I was still horrified at the idea of getting involved.
After a lot of cowering, I sucked it up and began contributing for sports, because ultimately, I realized what I wanted to do was sports write. From being a contributor to becoming the sports writer, I had found a home a home at The Southern News. From working each week with the athletic communications team to getting to know every athlete I possibly could, I felt at home on the athletic beat. I was literally living the dream.
Naturally, in went my application to become the next sports editor, a position I had my eyes set on from the moment I met Prof. Simoneau in the journalism department. But sometimes, life goes in a different direction than you expect it.
Upon interviewing for the position, I was offered a drastic promotion to managing editor, which would immediately follow another promotion to Editor-in-Chief the next semester. Essentially shooting from the bottom all the way to the top with no stop in between to gain experience.
I did not accept right away. I was nervous, honestly scared, again. As quickly as I found my niche for something in sports journalism, I felt as if I was abandoning it. Plus, I had seen what the executive editors did each week and never did I ever see myself as cut out for the job. \
As was the theme all along, I spent the summer going into it nervous for what was to come, clearing my head of all doubts I had in myself. Just as I did before starting my first staff position at the paper. And just as I did before I started contributing.
Despite all the nerves, as quickly as it all came, it ended. As I look back on my time at the Southern News as a whole, whether it was covering the Owls’ beat or major news stories like the university’s Black Lives Matter march, I am proud of myself for taking the low-risk high-reward shots I took, and most of all, I am proud of stepping up when I needed to step up.
Ultimately, I made a name for myself, something I never did in my hometown. And the manner in which I did it – becoming Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper and earning several awards for my work – is beyond humbling. I never would have thought any of this was possible when I was in high school.