Bella says bye: Features editor graduates

Isabella worked as the features editor of The Duke for the past two years. Pictured here is Isabella with her radio equipment when she worked for WESA.

Isabella Abbott | Features Editor

Coming to Duquesne, the only thing I was certain would be a part of my college journey was the rowing team. I started as an undecided liberal arts student athlete with no dream job and no sense of belonging within a major.

I watched countless teammates introduce themselves on the first day of practice stating their major and what they wanted to do after graduation and I would awkwardly be the freshman with no future plans.

And boy, did it take a while to find my passion.

I enjoyed writing but couldn’t comprehend or even study for science classes, even though, as a kid, I told teachers that being a veterinarian would be intriguing.

However, I realized that the vet’s job was to help look inside the animals, not just to walk and play with them.

But as I started taking classes in media and writing, I began to realize that journalism was my path. So, I declared my major as journalism my sophomore year, added a double major in communications shortly after that and declared a sociology minor just for fun this semester because I finished my major classes.

I joined The Duke during my sophomore year as a staff writer after hearing countless students come into my journalism classes and tell us to write for them.

I remember being terrified but excited to write my first published story in the Arts and Entertainment section. Though this first story was a Pittsburgh concert roundup, something that I couldn’t get too wrong (I hope), I was worried I hadn’t written it in the right style or that the staff would hate it and tear it up.

But, surprisingly, during my time as an editor and staff writer, I’ve learned mistakes can be made and fixed, and that it’s never a bad thing to be corrected as mistakes make us better.

So, after seeing that first story and my first newspaper with my name on it, I kept asking to write and eventually applied to be the next Features Editor at the start of my junior year. Since then, I’ve been able to write in every section except sports (funny because I participated in one) and have written many fun and rewarding articles.

I’ve also kept every Duquesne newspaper with my byline since.

Some of my favorites include a story where I taste-tested Moonlit Burgers and any stories written about accomplished alumni and students excelling in their majors.

Though I’ll admit, some, if not most, of those Wednesday nights were hard. Knowing I was staying up past my rowing athlete bedtime to edit and get the paper ready would worry me about practice the next morning, getting up at 4:45 a.m., sometimes 5 a.m.

I even had days where I left crying while walking back to my dorm, realizing I’d only get five hours of sleep before a hard, racing day.

But I’m so thankful to all my editors and Paula Ward for letting me leave before the rest of the staff, even if I miss the prime newsroom hour.

Working for The Duke made me a stronger writer, editor, interviewer, byline lover and deadline appreciator. It was somewhere to write even when I wasn’t quite sure, and still am not sure, what I wanted to do in life, I had writing to keep me company.

Having published stories in The Duke also gave me amazing internship experiences, such as working for 90.5 WESA this past summer as a newsroom production assistant. I took my AP-style and interview knowledge to a well-known radio station and had my stories broadcast on air and in a digital format.

As I end my time here, I’d like to thank Dr. Dillon for motivating me to write for The Duke during my sophomore year of college and always encouraging me to take on projects like being this year’s editor for the Media Department’s Off The Bluff magazine.

I’d also like to thank Paula Ward, my former fellow editors and this year’s editors, for always helping me and finding mistakes in my work that I may or may not keep making each week.

Though I’m still uncertain where life will take me, I’ll always be grateful for all of the opportunities working for The Duke gave me.