Adding to the family legacy: graduating editor reminisces on her UCM experiences

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by ELLEN BECKER, Managing Editor—
EllensmallerThis will be the final “My View” that I will share with you, Muleskinner readers, as my time as managing editor for this publication has come to an end.
Soon I will be graduating with my master’s degree, and moving on into the real world.
As I look back on my time at The Muleskinner, there are many memories that come to mind.
During my time here, I’ve been a writer, the assistant news editor, news editor and managing editor.
I have taken assignments all over Johnson County and have interviewed students, professors, deans, President Ambrose and other UCM administrators, as well as police officers, firefighters and city officials.
I’ve learned things about UCM and Warrensburg that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Early last semester, I was sitting in the newsroom with my staff members, studying for a test, when we heard sirens.
After turning on our police scanner, we found out there had been a house explosion, so we crammed into my car and took off to cover it.
We spent the whole night digging deep to find out what happened by interviewing police officers, the fire chief, neighbors and even the home’s residents.
We didn’t leave the newsroom until early the next morning.
I’ll never forget the rush of being first on the scene and the first ones to report the breaking news.
In February of this semester, I awoke one morning to a call from our news editor, Andy Lyons, at about 4 a.m. saying there was a house fire on Holden Street that we needed to cover.
So of course, I hopped out of bed and called everyone, and headed off.
We worked on putting a story together until the sun came up.
Other late nights in the newsroom included covering the Blaine Whitworth murder and candlelight vigil in September, and our 20-page Homecoming issue in October.
Some other fond memories I have are of late night staff outings to Country Kitchen after long days of work, and inside jokes about “body slams,” “wiggles” and “a lot of fire.”
As my time as a student draws to a close, I will miss going to class and interacting with professors and fellow students, but what I’ll miss most of all are the close friendships that I’ve made here at The Muleskinner.
In my very first editorial as managing editor last August, I wrote of my family’s legacy at UCM, and how my great-grandmother graduated in 1913 when it was called the State Normal School.
It’s crazy to think that exactly 100 years later, I’m graduating from the same school.
As a senior, she was required to write an epitaph to put next to her picture in the yearbook.
I’ll never forget what she came up with, as my grandma often quotes it to me.
She wrote, “Farewell, farewell my dear. Never more shall we see you here. For you came to the Normal to get an ed, but alas you’ve gone, with an empty head.”
As funny as I find that statement to be, I am definitely not leaving Central with an empty head.
I’ve learned so much in the past six years. Not only academically, but personally.
I came to UCM when I was an unsure, nervous 18-year-old, and I’m leaving as a confident, educated 24-year-old.
I’ve learned that I can handle pretty much anything that’s thrown my way if I put my mind to it.
I’ve also learned that although it’s hard sometimes, it’s OK to ask for help.
So as I leave, my advice for the students who still have a while to go is this:
1) Don’t sweat the small stuff.
There’s no need to stress yourself out over things that won’t impact you in the long run. Think to yourself, “Five years from now, will I even remember this?”
2) Get involved.
Joining campus groups and organizations gave me the opportunity for some great experiences, and I made some lifelong friends in the process.
3) Take chances.
It’s worth it to get out there, try new things and meet new people. Looking back on your college experience, it’s better to be able to say “I’m glad I did that,” than “I wish I had done that.”
The best choice I ever made was coming to UCM.
To all of my staff members, thanks for your support and for all of the crazy, weird and wonderful memories.
And to all of you loyal Muleskinner fans, thanks for reading.