Senior Send Off: Morgan Stutz Talks About Her Life With the Torch

This issue is my last as part of the Torch staff. Next semester I will be home in Springfield, Virginia, possibly working, certainly writing and definitely preparing to return to Wittenberg in April to present a paper as a capstone to my studies as an English major. For the last issue I wanted to look back on my college experience to this point as well as my accidental foray into news writing and editing.

After high school I had no real intention of going to college. Despite the fact that it was generally a rite of passage in my hometown, I was not interested in going off to school without any idea of a direction of study or even a distant hopeful goal for the future. It was never about a lack of intelligence, maybe it had to do with a lack of social maturity; either way I just was not ready to jump into the deep end.

When faced with the prospects of finding myself a job or going to the local community college, I picked what I felt was the lesser of two evils; Northern Virginia Community College, the destination of nearly half of my graduating class in 2009. Not that I had taken classes with most of them, I had always taken honors or AP classes in high school. Most of my fellow students went off to big name four-year schools like William and Mary, UVA, Penn State and UCLA.

For me the community college experience was like a less difficult repackaging of high school. I took classes I felt like taking at the pace I was comfortable completing them. I mostly kept my head down and met requirements, albeit at a pace that prevented me from getting my two-year degree at a slower pace. My indecisive nature was adequately appeased with my nonspecific Liberal Arts degree and my grades, though not outstanding, were good enough to qualify me for guaranteed acceptance at most of Virginia’s four-year institutions.

So why did I end up at Wittenberg?

I wanted to get out of the rat race of Northern Virginia. There is an odd suburban elitism among the citizens that live in the area just outside D.C. and I needed a breath of fresh air and a bit less pressure. Ohio was an easy place to start looking; there are many schools in the state with solid academic programs and most of my parent’s families live within a couple hours drive. I already knew I wanted to look at liberal arts schools and I like the environment of smaller schools. Wittenberg fit my general requirements, ‘it helped that I was accepted almost immediately.

Finding myself an English major came down to a half-baked idea that I could make myself write consistently. I have never been a particularly bad writer, but I often have a hard time putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard even when I have an idea of what I want to express.

And somehow I ended up as a senior writer and copy editor for the school newspaper.

Joining clubs when I am unfamiliar with everyone in them is something I never intended to do. As a transfer student it was hard for me to meet people closer to my age who share my interests.

Other juniors tended to have well-established social groups and I am not generally socially inclined to begin with. My roommate dragged me along to a meeting for The Torch because she wanted something that would look good on her resume. Though I was not interested in writing I knew I could edit if pressed to do something, and I have been copy editing ever since.

Copy editors for The Torch edit for A.P. style, cohesion and grammar. As the longest tenured copy editor for the paper, I have spent countless hours reading and editing to make the writers look their best. Gradually I began taking the occasional story as well. I tend to go for articles that I do not have to interview in order to write: opinions, arts and entertainment and sports when I felt adventurous.

Over the course of my five semesters at Wittenberg, working with The Torch has been one of the few things I have stuck with. Though writing can be hard to me I will always love literature and exploring the limits of the written word. And I have met some wonderful people in the process.

Thank you and good luck going forward.

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