My sophomore year at Wittenberg University was a year of vital landmarks in the university’s history. Through a historic Concerned Black Students walkout during the 2019 MLK Convocation, the completed renovation of the 1929 Fieldhouse, the construction of the new athletics center and the first snow day in years, the 2018-2019 school year was a very unusual one. For me, Wittenberg felt distinctly different this year than last, and I took advantage of it to be unusual myself.
I stepped out of my shell this year. I took harder classes, took officer positions in my clubs and activities and met lots of new people. While I spent most of freshman year adjusting to life in college, my sophomore year has afforded me the opportunity to become a well-functioning member of the campus community beyond just going to class and then hiding in my room all day. I have always been hesitant to jump into a lot of new activities, but I have certainly done just that this year.
I did a lot of exploring this year. I explored Buck Creek State Park, John Bryan State Park, Indian Mound State Park, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, the terrifying Mansfield, Ohio Reformatory, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Yellow Springs, the backcountry of Eastern Alabama and even Wittenberg’s lesser-known spots. On a campus where it’s easy to get lost in the monotony of day-to-day work, I have found that getting lost now and again is truly important.
I made new connections this year. In February, I took over as the president of the Wittenberg chapter of College Democrats. Since then, we have been slowly working to re-establish our presence on campus and orchestrate cross-platform voter registration efforts. Getting to be the president of an organization on campus has been a unique and rewarding challenge: I have already faced (and no doubt will continue to face) difficult and stressful situations. I did, however, get to hug Senator Sherrod Brown earlier this month, so I suppose it was all worth it in the end.
I worked really hard this year. I had the fortune of being a Resident Advisor (RA), which helped me to meet new people, develop my leadership skills and further my understanding of how Wittenberg operates beneath the surface. It was a demanding job, but the demand has also forced me to master time management, which has been vital in wading through the inherent difficulties of the two 19-hour and 18-hour semesters that I have survived this year.
I made something my own this year. At the Torch, I began my first year as the design editor. After a year of working with my predecessor’s design, I relished the opportunity to give the century-old newspaper my own personal spin. I chose a clean, modern design that echoes magazine design as much as it does newspaper. I also designed around columns and regular pieces with special headlines, boxes, and graphics. I have really enjoyed the weekly challenge of designing a unique and interesting paper, and look forward to the design changes and challenges that will come with next school year. I also found a comfortable beat in the paper’s Entertainment section, writing about music, movies and art. I love sharing my analyses of popular entertainment pieces, introducing readers to new artists and people tracking me down to tell me how good or not good an album or movie actually is.
My sophomore year has certainly been one of unique experiences. Through the intense school work, job demands, extracurricular duties, invaluable time at the Torch and sublime adventures, I have made sure to keep myself above the daily fray by not doing the same thing over and over again. I hope that the university, its administration and its students follow the same path: ironically, by not following any path at all.