Senior Column: My 2 best decisions in life
This will be the last piece I write for The Setonian.
That very thought is slowing me down as I type. If you know me, you know that The Setonian has proudly been the focal point of my college career. Recently, someone described this paper to me as my baby. It’s a funny way to phrase it, but it makes sense. I’ve treated my various roles – Staff Writer, Sports Digital Editor, Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief – like full-time jobs. I put everything I had into this newspaper.
I built it up and watched it grow – my only goal being to better it. Our motto – The Voice of the Seton Hall Community – I always took that to heart.
Fortunately, The Setonian built me up in return.
When I started, I had no idea how to write a lead, conduct an interview or what to wear on an assignment. But I learned how to do all of that and more. The Setonian made me a better writer, reporter and person. I’ve messed up plenty along the way – who among us hasn’t – but I’m confident I have the experience and skills that I need. Far before any class or internship, I have The Setonian to thank for that.
I also must thank this wonderful news organization for memories and people that I will cherish forever. I’ve been truly privileged to tell the incredibly personal stories of others, spark change at Seton Hall, travel the country and, of course, work some pretty wild basketball games. Yet, seeing my byline still gives me a rush. Covering games at Madison Square Garden still gives me chills. I want those feelings to stick with me the rest of my career.
I can say the same about a handful of friends I’ve met through The Setonian. I’ve had the greatest mentor imaginable, someone who always pushed me to venture outside my own backyard. I’ve worked with some of the most driven people this campus knows. I’ve been charmed to encounter consummate pros kind enough to help me out. Above all else, I’ve fostered relationships I know will be there years down the road.
In short, dedicating myself to The Setonian is one of the two best decisions I’ve made in my life.
The other was deciding to attend Seton Hall.
I, coming from a Jewish family and having no religious beliefs myself, for some reason had my heart set on this private Catholic institution after two tours. SHU was probably out of my price range, but I felt at home. My family saw that comfort and made it happen. I haven’t thanked them enough.
You might not believe it, but I love this University. My snarky editorials, the topics I and those under me have reported on and my many complaints may make you think otherwise, but really, I do.
If for nothing else, I do for all the people, memories and opportunities that have made these four years so special. When I put the University on blast or assign my reporters a controversial topic, it really is because I want this place to be even better than it was to me. That, and it’s my job.
Words cannot describe how proud I am of the job I’ve done, the job my team has done. Just last week, a well-regarded faculty member complimented that this was the best year of The Setonian he had ever seen. That was my mission when I took over.
You’re probably wondering when all the feels are going to stop, but I didn’t pick this topic for my senior column just to be reflective or heap praise.
I wrote this because, while I believe I’ve done plenty for The Setonian and Seton Hall, I want others to know what they did for me – what they could do for you. If you’re not already, take advantage of the opportunities this place has to offer. They’re endless. I want to play a role in making some of those opportunities possible – I want to give back more.
It is why I plan on staying involved with the paper and the University. I’ve already shared a handful of thoughts – yes, some critical – with administrators and won’t hesitate to pass along more. I want SHU, its students and The Setonian to be the best it can be long after I walk the stage at PNC.
Right now, though, I need to wrap this up. This column has run a bit long – that’s me delaying the bittersweet end.
The Setonian and Seton Hall were supposed to prepare me for life outside the campus’ gates – and both did – but as I get ready to graduate, I can’t help but feel like I have already lived a lifetime over the past four years.
And yet, those same four years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, I made some wise, life-changing decisions in that time.
What I’ve gotten out of Seton Hall is immeasurable. Hopefully, I see others continue to reap the same benefits.
Gary Phillips is a journalism major from Ramsey, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GaryHPhillips.