When it comes to the end, where do I start?

With a week to go in my career at Plattsburgh State, it’s pretty surreal. Four years of college have flown by, but Cardinal Points has truly defined my experience here.

After focusing on the journalism program’s introductory courses in my first semester here, I made sure to join the staff here right away, beginning what ultimately became a seven-semester career with Cardinal Points.

It’s weird to look back at my writing from my first semester and see how far I’ve come since my days as a sports staff writer, from wandering aimlessly as I tried to figure out how to properly cover track and field to successfully covering the men’s hockey team for two seasons.

But what I did as far as reporting is just the beginning of what Cardinal Points has meant to me.

In my first semester as sports editor, I remember former managing editor Matt Hamilton talking to prospective students about his experience on the paper, and he talked about how Cardinal Points really became like a family for him.

I didn’t know it at the time, but he couldn’t have been more right.

There’s just so many members of the Cardinal Points family that have touched my life, it’s hard to cover it all.

Of course, my first-ever editor, Ja’Pheth, became my partner-in-crime when he became my associate back in spring 2013 (honestly, I can’t tell if it should feel longer or shorter than two years ago). We had more than our fair share of laughs back in the old office when we were tucked away on the third floor of the Angell College Center. You really are a different breed of cat!

To Maggie and Winta — the ones who probably called me ZAR more than anyone — I know you’ll do great things next year. There’s not a doubt in my mind. You are both natural leaders with a great staff of editors behind you, and I wish I could stick around to see it all happen.

To Alex, you’ve been one of my closest friends up here, and I think everyone will agree that you’re one of the kindest people I’ve met. Your photo work is obviously outstanding, but your commitment to improving and down-to-earth nature will carry you far.

To my fellow graduating seniors, I’ll start with Brittany. I really have no clue how you managed to get everything done, considering how much you’re involved with. You’ve definitely been one of the reasons why we’ve maintained such a loose and connected office environment, and I know you’ll be successful with whatever you choose to do.

To Amanda, we started out with the whirlwind that was Point Blank, and we’ve only become closer since then. Obviously you do a great job with the website, but you’ve also been a great friend, and I’m certainly going to miss you.

And of course Brian, the other half of “BZ Productions,” when we created our wind-infested Ultimate Frisbee video back in freshman year for the final project of our Audio-Video Production class. We were talking about reaching the top of Cardinal Points even back then and, well, we made it. It’ll be a while after graduation before we know, but that All-American we always talked about would be the perfect send-off.

I like to think we did a lot for the paper in our time, between investing in new equipment, putting together a shiny new website and leading the staff this year — and hopefully leaving this paper in a good place to continue that success when we’re gone. I’ll definitely miss you, man.

And there’s plenty of other people, both past and current, I could shout out: Nick, Chris, Willie, Stan, Lara, Ben, Matt, Ian, Ricky, John … and that’s just to name a few.

At this point, I’m just so appreciative of the opportunities and memories everyone at Cardinal Points has given me these past four years.

I might be moving on to a new stage in my life — I’ll be tackling graduate school at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in the fall — but my career as a journalist will always be defined by the people I met here.

For that, I am truly grateful.

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<a href="https://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/zachary-ripple/" rel="tag">Zachary Ripple</a>