Layne Stracener

Layne Stracener

Only a few months ago, I was terrified to graduate. I was in denial, trying not to think about the impending end of my college years and beginning of real adulthood. Family, friends and regulars at the grocery store I worked at constantly asked what I was doing after graduation. I smiled and ignored the fear that overcame me every time. I was scared to leave this chapter of my life behind and begin a new chapter of uncertainties.

It seems like these past four years went by too fast until I look back to freshman year and I realize how much I’ve grown, as a journalist and as a person, and how much I’ll continue to grow if I allow myself to. I realize that nobody is “ready” until they let themselves be and that you can’t resist change and growth. I realize that I’m more than ready, even though goodbyes are always hard. There’s no way to find out what the future holds if I stay here forever. It’s been such a great experience, but it’s time to say thank you and goodbye.

Although life is filled with uncertainties, there’s one aspect of mine that’s been consistent ever since I joined my high school’s newspaper staff seven years ago. I love journalism. Going into college, though, I wasn’t completely sure that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I stuck with it, anyway. By the end of my freshman year, I was completely sure.

My classes and my time at The Standard grew my passion and solidified my decision to begin a journalism career, and I’m so grateful for it.

Thank you to my professors, especially in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film, for sharing your knowledge and passion and helping me grow as a journalist and as a person.

Thank you for teaching the next generation of journalists the skills, knowledge, confidence and passion necessary for this industry. You’ve taught me why this job is so important and how to be better at it. Thank you for encouraging me to push myself and for teaching me to stand strong, work hard and believe in myself, even when it’s difficult. Even during the times I feel like I’m not good enough. Even in a time when the industry is struggling, in a time when journalists are distrusted and unsafe and in a time when our president has declared journalists the “enemy of the people.” Thank you for showing me to keep going and never give up, because it’s more important now than ever before to be a journalist.

Thank you to The Standard staff for believing in me, encouraging me and teaching me how to do better. I wish you all the best. Your hard work and passion is contagious, and I am so grateful for my time at The Standard. It’s given me the opportunity to cover important issues, tell the stories of interesting people, document history in real time, share important history that’s often forgotten and amplify the voices of people whose voices need to be heard. Each of these opportunities has reminded me why this is what I want to do, and I’ll never forget it.

Thank you to The Standard readers. Thank you for reading and thank you for caring. Without you, our hard work means nothing. And thank you to all the students who have allowed us to tell your stories.

Thank you and goodbye, Missouri State. Thank you for the opportunities, memories and experiences you’ve given me. Thank you for being my home for the past four years. I’ve learned so much about journalism, life and myself during my time here. I’ll never forget you.

Layne is a journalism major who started working for The Standard in spring 2016 as a reporter.