The Crimson White

Move on! (In a good way)

Amanda Peterson

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Don’t take this the wrong way, but I am so excited to be done.

And graduating.

And to be leaving the University of Alabama in a couple weeks.

After four years of hard work, hundreds of articles for The Crimson White and enough studying to make my parents happy, I could not be happier to be finished with my college career.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have loved every frustrating, stress-inducing minute of being editor of The Crimson White and all the time I spent at the newspaper before my senior year. My work at The CW led me to three great internships and chances to meet and work with some amazing people. And the time I spent learning from professors and classmates has augmented those experiences.

After getting a chance to accomplish everything I ever thought I wanted in college and more than I dreamed of, get me out of here. I’m ready to move on.

In a good way.

The beauty of college is that it is not the most important thing that will ever happen in your life. It is supposed to prepare you for the most important things that are still to come.

Student organizations like The CW, SGA, Apwonjo and any number of groups on campus that focus on campus to international issues can make a difference. They are great launching pads to help students gain experience and learn what they are passionate about.

But what happens now is not the peak of our lives, so we all need to keep college life in perspective. In the end, the SGA is not trying to solve the national health care crisis, and The CW doesn’t compete with The New York Times to break all the news of the world each day.

Focus on the big picture. Think about where you want to be after college, how your college experiences can help and what it will take to get you there.

And keep your ego in check. Do something because it matters to you or because it is the right thing, not because you will get recognition.

***

I fell in love with this campus through working at The Crimson White — from being a reporter to being the person in charge of it all. I got lucky enough to cover this entire, amazing campus — everything from the dorm rooms to meeting after meeting of the Board of Trustees — and I loved every bit of it.

And I love this place not because of the postcard image that recruiters draw people here with, but because of its complications.

There is the history of racism we are still coming to terms with, shown through the debates on how to best remember the University’s integration at Foster Auditorium. There are the never-ending arguments over the quality of buildings that students use — such as when political science students compare their older surroundings to peers studying in Shelby Hall.

And it is always rewarding when you get to see an inch of progress.

***

There are always the requisite thank-you’s. I thought I could avoid it, just say what I needed to and offer my last word to the campus.

But I could not have done any of it without my fiancé, whom I fell in love with along the way of learning to love this campus. Nick was a senior and editor of the yearbook my freshman year. After being told by a professor to get me involved with the Office of Student Media, Nick asked if I would have time to meet with him so that he could tell me more about the Office of Student Media. (Thanks, Dr. Keller.)

Four years later, he is the person who kept me calm, proofed anything I showed him and always supported me through every late night and complicated story.

And when I started this job last April, Will Nevin, my former managing editor, was the one who helped get this year started. He tracked down stories for reporters and kept the paper running each night. Thank you so much, Will.

I’d also like to thank all the desk editors, reporters, photographers, designers and copy editors who also kept us printing day after day. Because of these people, we put out a product that each day I have always been proud of.

***

After I found out I would be the editor of The Crimson White, the first thing my mother told me was not to work too hard this year.

(She and my dad had visions of me never leaving my office, I’m sure.)

I’m not sure if I actually listened, but I know I have loved what I’ve done.

So do what you love.

Love what you do.

And always remember that life does not end on graduation day — it begins.

Amanda Peterson was editor of The Crimson White in 2009-10.

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Move on! (In a good way)