I would like to think that a butterfly does not know when the process of metamorphosis begins, but that the changes it undergoes are instinctively understood. After four years in a cocoon of development at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I finally see myself beginning the process of emergence with my degree.
As I take on the world in a new form, I would like to acknowledge the instrumental role which The Carolinian has played in my personal growth throughout these years.
When I began at The Carolinian, I was a freshman and Staff Writer for the Features section. Every week, I relished covering a new story and forming relationships with people at the university and within the Greensboro community.
The most exciting interview I have ever conducted was conducted then — with one of the Greensboro Four Woolworth sit-in protesters, Jibreel Khazan, formerly Ezell Blair Jr.
The resulting article from this interview was simply a taste of the metamorphosis and growth which I and the Features section would undergo through the next three years.
What I appreciated from this experience was the feeling that my editor believed in me enough to handle such a big story. In my following years as an editor, providing my writers the opportunity develop their skills as reporters and journalists is precisely what I have aimed to do.
In my first year as an editor, I endeavored to explore the concept of the Features section of The Carolinian as a place not only for coverage of events at UNCG and within the wider Greensboro community, but for articles related to experiences or “experiential articles,” as they were dubbed. Before leaving, my editor had relayed to me that this was the direction he would like the Features section to go in, and so, I decided to put it in action.
Initially, experiential pieces began a bit rocky — as I had to define what experiential articles were and set the boundaries for what content counted as such — but when I found riveting stories in the articles I received, I knew the endeavor had paid off.
Of course, as time went on and I began my second year as an editor, I felt as though, for the most part, these engaging experiential pieces were beginning to peter out. Of course, I also relate this to the end of Staff Writers at The Carolinian being paid, but nonetheless, I decided to get creative.
As a general rule, I believe that people produce better writing that is related to their interests. And so, through engaging with my writers on a personal level, I encouraged them to cover articles about what they love.
This, however, also presented problems. It had the tendency to, upon occasion, result in lazy work which did not challenge my writers.
In my third year as an editor, I have tried to mitigate these problems through assigning content that challenges my writers to dig deeper into articles related to new experiences as well as their interests, and intertwine this with events at UNCG and within the Greensboro community.
I am a bit wary of the idea of legacies, as I feel they have the potential to obscure and impede individual growth through an attachment to a phantom image of the past, but I would like to think that my legacy at The Carolinian is that it is necessary to be adaptable in the face of change.
I have learned how to adapt not only to new writers, new techniques of approaching stories and new styles of content during my time at The Carolinian, but how to adapt to new people and work environments.
In each of my four years at The Carolinian, I feel as though I underwent a stage of change within my metaphoric cocoon that is inextricably linked to my time at the paper. As I emerge, I am excited to embrace what I have become and vigorously pursue a new passion.