An editor’s goodbye in 21 inches

Emily Patton

I stood in my living room and begged my parents not to make me go back to WKU. It was a Sunday night of my freshman year, and I attempted to push my return time to campus another day.

I couldn’t do college. I couldn’t do WKU. It wasn’t for me. I wasn’t good at it. I was so homesick — all arguments I brought up so confidently that I convinced myself were fact. I think, or at least I hope, everyone has these moments in their lives where they believe they can’t do something. And then they do.

I wiped my eyes, put gas in my car and made the drive to Bowling Green that Sunday night.

My freshman year, I didn’t know where I fit in or what I was good at, but the next year I found out I would be a general assignment sports reporter for the College Heights Herald, meaning I would take all the leftover assignments (aka the ones no one wanted). I didn’t know if this was what I was missing in college. But when my first story was published, I found I had never been more proud to see my name in print. I owe a thank-you to Sarah Hyman, my first editor, and Mr. A, director of Student Publications, for understanding girls can write sports, too.

Sure, it was added stress and a serious time commitment, but I loved it. That’s what this is all about it. Loving it even though you’re hating leaving the Student Pubs building at midnight, while you’re shoveling down three-day leftovers because you’re too exhausted to cook and having pride in your work even when so many others don’t understand why you do it to yourself. This newspaper became my home.

I moved from bass fishing and 7 a.m. 5K race stories to covering cross-country, where I wrote about Lucas Somers being diagnosed with testicular cancer and his teammates shaving their heads in support.

The next semester, I transferred to writing softball, where I received my first introduction to following a team from start to finish.

That fall, I took on Lady Topper volleyball, where I covered the team through their near-tragic bus crash to NCAA tournament berth. I can strongly say this season of my life was my most favorite, thanks to such an outstanding coach in Travis Hudson. Thank you for the person you are.

Next, I climbed the ladder to assistant sports editor writing spring football, where I never left practice without laughing because of Willie Taggart giving me a quote with his latest Willie-ism.

Finally, I advanced to features editor, where I’ve been the last year. I had to figure out how to lead people, how to be a good person on the job and an even better person off of it. If anything, that’s the hardest part about working for a newspaper.

I want to thank my family and friends for always understanding why this place took up so much of my time, and Hunter, my boyfriend, for being ever so gracious and supportive when I would get the dreaded “my story has fallen through” text from a reporter, letting me have a meltdown in the middle of our date and then always finding a way to make me smile. You’ve been so good to me.

The fact of the matter is I would not be writing this Herald goodbye without all of you. I wouldn’t have gotten in the car and driven back to Bowling Green. I wouldn’t have found my niche at WKU. I wouldn’t have a job waiting after graduation. So thank you for getting me to this goodbye. Thank you for getting me past it.