By Kiyanna Noel
I was good at math, science and even history, but English was my strongest subject. I loved writing little stories with made up characters and plots. My middle school teachers encouraged me to pursue an English degree, but I wanted to do more than write non-fiction novels and poetry books. I used to waste my summers inside of libraries and bookstores reading fashion magazines. It was like the designs came alive and the designers were innovative and purposeful in every way. But, I didn’t want to design. I wanted to write.
Journalism has always been there for me. In seventh grade, I made the decision to be a journalist. I wanted to write about culture in the world around us and how it changes over time. I chose SUNY Plattsburgh because it was the only institution that had “journalism” and “magazine” in the same major. Leaving my life in New Jersey behind to pursue journalism was the easiest decision I ever made, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
As much as I would love to say my education at SUNY Plattsburgh was a walk in the park or that I was an above average student, I won’t. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the experiences I had at SUNY Plattsburgh. It wasn’t easy because I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready for the betrayal of friends, my first bad grade or the never-ending feeling of wanting to give up. Likewise, I wasn’t expecting to get my first good grade, make lifelong friends and show the person I truly am while shedding the skin of the person I used to be.
Joining All Points Now and Cardinal Points allowed me to have real writing experience and solidified the kind of writing I wanted to do. It also introduced me to one of my best friends, Jeremy Binning. When I wanted to quit, he always encouraged me to stay. He reminded me that college was not only about work, but it was about having fun because we will never be this young again or have these experiences.
Cardinal Points was intimidating. I heard horror stories from the students around me before I even signed up for the practicum. The overwhelming articles due every week on top of other class assignments was enough for me to put it off till it was absolutely necessary. D-Day for me was fall of 2022. I took the practicum and put my all into my assignments and even decided to do the horoscope for fun. I didn’t just enjoy it, but the critiques weren’t as scary as everyone made it to be.
Since then, I was bitten by the Cardinal Points bug and took on other positions such as the Arts & Culture editor and managing editor. I joined because I wanted to expand my writing abilities. I had no intentions of meeting inspirational people who pushed me to stay in my last semester. Sports Editor Collin Bolebruch and former Editor in Chief Sydney Hakes made Cardinal Points the best publication I could’ve ever written for. Their enthusiasm, charismatic and lively personalities invited me in, defended me and motivated me in ways no professor had before. News Editor Hayden Sadler and Opinion Editor Daniela Raymond made this semester just as memorable as the one before with their contagious laughter and sense of humor. To my apprentice, Cinara Marquis, each week I enjoyed reading your articles, and I know you will be just as amazing as Arts & Culture editor next semester.
While my time at SUNY Plattsburgh has come to an end, I will never forget the professors that checked on me in my hard times, reminding me to be the best person I can be and that I am more than just a number or grade. Catherine Manegold showed me four and a half years ago that there was room for improvement when she gave me my very first D on a final. I got so worked up that I wrote her an email requesting to change my major because I wasn’t going to spend four years on a major that I wasn’t good at. She wrote back the kindest of words even citing that I was only a first-year and my greatest work was yet to be published, and she was right. Jack Downs showed me how to create a website from the ground up and listened to me vent repeatedly. As my third adviser, I’m not sure he knew what he was getting himself into when he saw my name on his extended list of students, but I enjoyed his jokes and light-hearted conversations the most. Shawn Murphy introduced me to journalism beyond newspapers and television, but online published work. Despite the pandemic, Murphy always made class enjoyable. I will never forget the pieces I read in that class and how they made me feel. I hope my work at Cardinal Points and other publications has done the same for others.
I am grateful for Cardinal Points for showing me that journalism does matter in more ways than one. If you would’ve asked me four and a half years ago where I see myself today, I would’ve said something along the lines of graduating from college, probably working a regular job trying to pay the bills or at least get the best internship under the sun. However, today I’m just two weeks shy of graduation and I still have my hopes and dreams that are as big as the sun in my left pocket. I am grateful for the memories made, lessons learned and people that have changed my life forever.