Off the Record: Farewells, frustrations and finals

By: Sam Fatula | A&E Editor

I always seem to go through a period of reflection at the end of every school year, to possibly benchmark my expectations for the subsequent year. Normally, I ask myself the same old questions: What did I do well this year? What could I have done better? Will I ever get over my chronic procrastination, etc. And typically all of these questions are answered by wasting away my summer vacation in front of a TV with the occasional visit to South Side Steaks to quell my fear of future plans with grease and nausea.

I never recognized how much time I spent recollecting over the past until I had to ask myself last month what was coming next in my life. People weren’t lying when they said just how fast college goes by. Four years seemed more like four days, albeit a tad cliched. But here I am; 22 years old, nine days before graduation and my near-future plans have me a bit disappointed.

Being aware of the risk of declaring as a journalism major is quite the understatement. In fact, I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen eyebrows furrow when they heard the word “journalism” following their question in regards to my future plans. But I was confident enough in my work ethic and passion to write to eventually seek a somewhat profitable career. And I could have eased my way through these past four years of undergrad, getting decent grades with the sole purpose just to pass. However, I wanted to work hard, develop a respectable portfolio and make the most out of this short experience.

Arguably I have done all that. I went through the necessary steps of making connections and establishing relationships with the right people. I obtained internships to broaden my understanding of the professional world and to increase the value of my resume. I sought leadership positions on campus with open arms. For what? A first-class ride back home to mom and dad for an indefinite period.

Take this how you may, but I can’t help but feel frustrated and a little naive. I’m aware of the expression that a diploma doesn’t equal a job, but I have gone beyond just wanting a degree. Yet I sit here, applying to positions with entry-level qualifications and an interview hasn’t even been reciprocated. Duquesne’s kool-aid of “cosmopolitan, yet caring” has never tasted more sour.

But I digress (finally), complaining about not having a job hasn’t gotten anybody anywhere. I think that is the true challenge of college now; to apply everything you have learned to get to where you want to be. A diploma doesn’t make you, but the things that you have seen, heard and learned do.

My father always told me that he would deem himself as “successful” when he could acknowledge that I was smarter walking out of college than I did walking in. Coming into my senior year of undergrad, he admitted that he had no doubt that I had achieved this. As I look around the newsroom of The Duquesne Duke, seeing how far I have come from being a lowly freshman to now, I couldn’t agree with him more.

This publication has opened doors for me, and through it I have learned a lot of things. Alcohol helps on occasion, preferably Sunshine Daydream if you have it. Writing for a newspaper is fun, no matter how many people are unlikely to read it or how stressful it can be. Working with a staff of people that have egos as large as yours can be extremely frustrating and can piss you off a lot, but ultimately you understand that they make you better as a person and professional. Lastly, leaving this position as Arts & Entertainment editor will be one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

But with departures come newer opportunities, and as one editor leaves another one must fill the spot. I am confident that Sean, alongside the guidance of next year’s upcoming staff, will do great things with this section. Arts & Entertainment had never been more than one page prior to me leading the section, and for that I am grateful for the beliefs that my fellow staff members have held in me since. I encourage you, the reader, to continue following this admirable publication through the years, as you will never know how great the stories are unless you flip through the pages.