When I transferred to Plattsburgh in fall 2021, I kept my expectations minimal. I wasn’t cynical, but methodical after the stresses of changing colleges. My plan was to compile a solid resume, get my degree and find a job I like.
The journalism program had a good reputation in the SUNY circle, being one of six colleges that offered the degree. That rep derived from the decades-old award-winning newspaper: Cardinal Points. I knew before stepping onto campus that I wanted to be involved, and after a few meetings and a couple articles under my belt, I was hooked.
Cardinal Points is an easy line to get tangled in. For all the stressful nights, interviews falling through and photos turning out blurry, no one seems to want to be anywhere else. I learned quickly that the passion of the staff runs deep.
This was evident after learning what the time commitment Cardinal Points would be. Editors dedicate almost 20 hours a week to it, which would end up being my norm for the rest of my college career. After my initial semester as a staff writer, then News Editor Olivia Bousquet asked me to step in as arts and culture editor, a position I held for two semesters, along with taking on managing editor. For that collegiate year, I worked alongside editors who taught me so much, from successes to shortcomings. There were enough of both, as Cardinal Points has been a Petri dish for growth.
I learned how to take criticism and give it, adapting to an environment where I was part of a bigger ecosystem and having to coexist with other editors, writers and our readers. The most challenging moments are ones I’ll remember in my professional career. The other moments — midnight in the office laughing too hard at dumb jokes, sharing sources for stories and making runs to Stewart’s for Red Bulls — are things I’ll remember all my life.
When it was Olivia’s time to graduate and I was voted on as editor in chief, it felt like shoes that were too big to fill. I learned so much from those who came before me that I didn’t know whether I could be that person for the new and younger staff.
They made it easy on me. Collin Bolebruch, Kiyanna Noel and Aleksandra Sidorova were constant supporters and passionate editors who helped facilitate an environment I looked forward to walking into every week. Along with Jacob Crawford and Jayne Smith, the paper was able to gain strong traction in the wake of going completely digital in fall 2022. All of their tenacity was put into new ideas alongside upholding the old ones, and I look forward to seeing where they take the paper next.
Like many programs in numerous SUNY schools, the journalism department has its struggles. The current sole faculty members — Shawn Murphy and Jack Downs — have given countless hours to helping their students succeed. I wouldn’t be nearly as confident in my ability or my future without their guidance. I hope they — and every professor or faculty who has crossed my path these two years — can recognize even a small portion of my gratitude.
Cardinal Points became the foundation on which everything else I gained in Plattsburgh was built up. I experienced countless “firsts” here. The first friends I made in Plattsburgh were the ones I met at the fall 2021 reception. My first editor in chief, Alana Penny, became my roommate the subsequent semester. The first clips on my resume are bylines from the news section. I can only hope that by the time I reach my “lasts,” the memory of what Cardinal Points has given me will still be ingrained in my mind.
I couldn’t be more confident in the editors that will remain after me. I find new reasons to be proud of them every week. They’re constantly pursuing diverse and engaging stories while innovating the paper’s design. I’ve watched them dedicate countless hours to reporting, writing, editing and designing — enough that I know they’ll be just fine after my departure.
I owe a lot to Cardinal Points and dedicate the start of my career to it. I thank everyone who has ever presented me with opportunities to show my worth, and appreciate the help that was given to me along the way.