For the better part of the last three-plus years, my Sunday morning has started the same way. My alarm chimes relentlessly at 5:30 a.m. until I muster the will to get out of bed.
Shortly thereafter, I’m on my way to WSOU and my 6 a.m. to 12 noon shift. It’s not your typical shift at our radio station – instead of serving as the DJ or broadcasting news, I engineer for a community programming lineup.
Six hours – each Sunday, every week. And to me, there’s seldom that can parallel my Seton Hall career any better.
Before we go any further, in brief, WSOU is a different world on the weekends. Local community members stop by the studios to fill out 18 unique hours of programming – much different from WSOU’s usual hard rock sound. Programming ranges from Catholic talk shows to culture-specific blocks of music during my six-hour shift.
Each Sunday begins at 6 a.m. with a show dedicated to Asian and Pacific music. The host, Tommy, has coffee waiting for me upon arrival to the studios. Knowing my taste in sports teams, he’ll always inquire as to how the Mets fared during the prior week.
Tommy’s program gives way to some syndicated Catholic shows as the morning rolls along – time that I usually reserve for homework and catching up on emails.
Up next is Joe, the Celtic Heritage Hour host, who enters around 9 a.m. We make small talk about campus news (he grabs The Setonian as soon as he gets to WSOU) and maybe the world of politics.
By 11:30 a.m., with live Mass on the airwaves of WSOU, the team for the Polish Polka Party arrives to prepare for their two-hour program. Knowing I’ve been up since 6, they offer me a snack on some mornings. We chat about the last week, my semester, and life – whatever is on our collective minds.
At the forefront, this Sunday morning shift has been a constant for the majority of my time as a student. Whether I’m walking over to the studios at the start of the shift from Boland Hall (as a resident or RA), my old apartment in South Orange or my new home in Lyndhurst, 6 a.m. on Sundays has me physically in the same location each week.
It also brings about a sense of not only community but a role within it. My shift isn’t the most critical job at WSOU, but it is important. You can say the same about so many around the Hall – from a Facilities employee to a GDS worker to an adjunct professor to a priest in residence. Each has their duty to make our community just a bit more complete.
But on top of it all, the Sunday morning crew – as diverse as you can imagine – has become a family for me. They’ve been around to see and hear my life transform through my time at the University.
The shift isn’t just an exercise in me venting or confiding in them. I can tell – these folks care about Seton Hall, the students at WSOU, and me.
The simplicity of it can be overwhelming to comprehend as I leave. That first cup of coffee to the playful jabs at the Mets’ latest gut-wrenching loss – these are as simple of interactions as you’ll find.
Yet, much like my classmates who are dreading the loss of afternoons spent napping on the Green or seeing a friend while headed to class, the simple elements of Seton Hall form that which makes graduation, and leaving, so bittersweet.
Attempting to grasp that my Sunday mornings at WSOU are soon to be history, I took a walk around campus after a recent shift. As typical of the University on the weekends, the Green was quiet and serene.
With no one around, I was able to observe how beautiful the campus is. That, too, served as the most basic of examples as to why I am so lucky I decided to come here four years ago.
It’s part simplicity and part community that will stay with me as I grab my diploma in a few weeks and say goodbye. I’ll always have plenty of Seton Hall stories to share, from road trips for WSOU Sports broadcasts to some of the highlights of my time with The Setonian.
But moments, like a Sunday morning shift and the people that are part of it, are more difficult to explain.
I’m sure I will be a bit more appreciative and reflective when my alarm blares at me this Sunday, at 5:30 a.m., as it does every week.
At least for a few more Sundays, anyway.
Brian Wisowaty is a senior journalism major from Matawan, N.J. He can be reached at email@example.com.