Thursday, February 22, 2024

Opinion editor’s goodbye: Leaving Plattsburgh, entering the world

By Daniela Raymond

I’ve always had a way with words. Often, I find myself searching for words or what to say when speaking, but with writing, this has never been an issue. 

Throughout high school I dreamed of joining our school’s publication so I could be a published writer, and when I was finally able to in my senior year, I jumped at the chance. Writing and coming up with story ideas was a passion for me, and I quickly realized that I always had an opinion in areas that some students didn’t even know or were relevant and not known. I felt like I could make a difference, especially in my small town. I worked my way to the editor in chief of our paper and loved every minute. My high school teacher inspired me to pursue a journalism major and once it was mentioned, I was enamored. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to write. 

I hear so many journalism students tell me that Cardinal Points is where they found their calling, and how much they loved devoting time to it or were hooked immediately. I did not have the same experience. 

Coming to SUNY Plattsburgh, I was intimidated by the journalism department. Cardinal Points was scary to me and I felt like there was no way I’d be a good enough writer to write anything to be published. 

I tried again for my next semester and again, I didn’t return. My sophomore year, I was determined to stay. I mustered up the courage to finally meet with an editor and wrote stories for Cardinal Points that year. This year, an editor position was offered to me, and I hesitantly accepted. 

While the experience has been new and different for me, I’m so grateful that I joined the team. Working in the newsroom with my fellow editors who keep good energy and laughs always on deck made time pass. I’ve gone from dreading production weeks to truly enjoying the work I’m doing and whom I am doing it with. I thank my Cardinal Points editors for making such hard, hard work enjoyable and while my experience as an editor may have been short, it was still worthwhile. I’ve been able to refine my skills, and my gratitude to this publication is unmatched. 

My journey in college has been difficult but also rewarding. I began as a shy first-year whose only social interaction was on the track and field team as a student-athlete and grew into a senior who can say they held board positions on four e-boards, danced for two dance teams, wrote for three different publications and played a club sport. 

While my time was exhausting and took me on a journey I could never have prepared for, I am extremely proud of myself for making it through. I’ve struggled deeply with my mental health and have often felt like this degree was unattainable for me. I pushed, I prayed and leaned on those around me and truly through the grace of God, I can say that I am graduating.

While I enjoyed writing, doing it for a grade made me lose my passion. I needed to find a way to fall back in love with the only way I felt like I could truly communicate, and that was poetry. Poetry feels free. Writing essays and articles often makes me feel caged within my words, struggling to contain what I have to say in a strict format. Poetry feels abstract, it is complex. Thinking of the perfect word to fit into a puzzle is the most rewarding feeling. I feel like an artist looking for the perfect shade of blue to fill the gap in the sky. Poetry is something that found me in my darkest time and has carried me through my life. 

Poetry is immediate, full of surprises and carries the danger of impending flames. I love how a poem can condense the entire cosmos into a single sentence. It is compact and strong, like a boxer’s short jabs. I love how physical it is. Despite this, poetry possesses an incredible fluidity, floods like an ocean wave and swims like a trout. To convey this, I’d like to end my journey at Cardinal Points with a poem. 

 

We grew up with 2023 engraved in our minds. A reminder of our innocence. A countdown of our childhood. 

When I was 5, I wished to be 10, because that’s double digits. My mom told me “Don’t wish time away, Da.”

When I was 10, I wished to be 13, because then I’m an official teenager. My mom said, “Don’t wish time away, Da.” 

When I was 13, I wished to be 18, so I would finally be an “adult,” and my mom said, “Don’t wish time away, Da.” 

Now I am 22, wishing I was 18, wishing to be 13, wishing to be 10. Remembering when my mom said, “Don’t wish time away, Da.” 

If you are concerned with what you are to become, start becoming more concerned with what you are. The trees were once seeds, the clouds were once the sea, and everything you are now creates everything you will be. 

Bwa pi wo di li we lwen, men gren pwomennen di li we pi lwen pase l. 

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