I had a club soccer coach that always told us to give 110%.
“If you’re practicing, give 110%. If you’re studying, give 110%. If you’re partying, you party 110%.” It became a mantra and a joke within the team. But in recent weeks, I’ve found myself thinking about that phrase: give 110%.
I’ve spent the last two and a half years giving 110% to The Standard. From outlining and designing entire basketball special sections to meal runs on Monday afternoons, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else for the entirety of my college career.
I’ve traveled to Chicago and back in 47 hours. I’ve gone to Oklahoma State for a Thursday night football game, only to arrive back in Springfield just in time to see the sunrise and head to class. I’ve worked in a mostly empty press room until the lights are turned off in Plaster Stadium, Hammons Student Center and JQH Arena. (Shoutout to Wyatt Wheeler and Tim McCall for the quiet company here and there.) I’ve driven through fog after a tough loss for a men’s basketball team that easily could’ve done better than 16-16 if a few shots had gone their way.
I gave my whole heart and soul to this publication. With that, I’ve coached and been coached by people who gave 110% of their own to The Standard.
To my first editor-in chief, Alec McChesney, thank you for taking a chance on me two and half years ago. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. You saw someone with passion and coached her. I will be forever thankful for our endless chats about sports, journalism and life. (And don’t worry, I still read “Mind Gym” when I need it.)
To my first sports editor, Brenner Moore, your passion and knowledge of sports is unmatched. You taught me the importance of working hard and knowing it’s okay to stop for a moment and breathe.
To my first friends, Sarah Teague and Cortlynn Stark, you saw a nervous but excited freshman and showed her compassion and a matched love for journalism. Even though you’ve both told me you wish you could be reporters in the ‘70s, you’re thriving in the digital world. Thank you for being my friends and editors over the last few years.
To last year’s editorial staff, Cortlynn, Nina Todea and Emily Cole, I’ve never been so close to anyone during my time at The Standard. Even though we butted heads (I’m looking at you, Nina) and pulled awful all-nighters in the newsroom (and now you, Emily), we became such close friends. You all loved this job as much as I do. I’ve learned skills from each of you that wouldn’t fit into one farewell column. Thank you for continuing to be my closest friends from Clay Hall.
To this year’s editorial staff, Sarah, Carissa Codel, Greta Cross and Zoe Brown, you’ve all taught me how to have fun in the workplace and remember that sometimes laying on the ground or standing on a table is completely understandable in certain situations.
To Kaitlyn Stratman, my first co-editor and favorite travel partner, there are no words to describe how sad I am knowing I won’t be working by your side this fall. Your passion for photography and journalism is incredible. I’ll miss risking our lives for basketball games and stopping at QuikTrip because we know that’s a safe place to stop. As much as I wanted to include you in the above sections, I knew our shared memories of train rides to Chicago and endless music selections deserved its own farewell. Your future is so bright. I cannot wait to see what you do this summer and beyond.
To my lovely sports section, there are no words. This is the hardest part to write of all of this. I’ve watched you all grow and develop as writers. Claire, you are one of the smartest and brightest people I’ve worked with. In the last year, I’ve seen you as someone I can go to for advice and a smile on a stressful day. Please don’t let anyone curb your creativeness and enthusiasm. Derek, as quiet as you were, you produced some of the best content the sports section has seen. Your smile when Sarah or I would compliment your work always reminded me how important this job is. I so wish we could’ve seen the work you produced during baseball season. Stephen, you are going to do so much better at this job than anyone I have seen. You work tirelessly to create unique and interesting content. My only advice is this: Take a step back every now and then to take in what’s going on around you. To Cole and TJ, your trust and willingness to learn was so exciting to see. Keep it up in the years to come.
There are so many others that I could thank and say goodbye to, but there’s only so much any one person can write or read. Whether you are mentioned or not, know I probably learned something from you and I appreciate all you’ve done for me.
Finally, to my readers, thank you. Your feedback, questions, Twitter interactions — that’s the reason I do the job. As much as Alec and others took a chance on me, you did too. You read my work and supported me when I saw you at a game or out in public. I am forever thankful for your kindness and loyalty to student publications. I hope you all continue to follow myself and the others at The Standard in the future.
As I conclude this, I find myself thinking of the time I attended my first meeting in Clay Hall. I joined The Standard my freshman year as a reporter trainee, then a photographer trainee, and shortly after, I attended that first meeting. I loved the organized chaos of it all — being in the newsroom was an experience I never wanted to end.
And now, that’s exactly what’s happening. I emptied my desk and locked Clay Hall behind me for the final time. That 110% effort is left for others to carry on. On that note, I’m going to go sit outside, watch the sunset, drink a beer and reminisce on the beginning, the end and every moment in between. Thanks for following along. I’m signing off.