Exit from Gannon brings editor back to the start

I can remember sitting in the hotter-than-hell Yehl Ballroom four years ago like it was on the other side of Easter break.

It was boring orientation and I was certain my head would explode if I heard any more parents ask whether a PC or Mac operating system was better for their prodigal child.

Nothing in the usual banter caught my ear until I heard the former editor-in-chief of The Gannon Knight, Kelly Fennessy, describe what she did for the newspaper. I turned to my mom as a cocky, know-it-all high school graduate and told her I was going have that job one day.

One thing leads to another and bada bing, bada boom you’re reading my last column in The Gannon Knight four years later. Although I never doubted my ability to get here, I did doubt just how tough the journey would be. I’m nowhere near the same cocksure teenager that sat in the Yehl ballroom four years ago.

I’ve tried to turn cockiness into confidence, my need to always say something into a desire to never say anything, and my never-give-an-inch convictions into tolerance.

My heart got warmer and bigger to those close to me but colder toward everyone else. Finally understanding that I can’t be all things to all people was one of the best realizations of my life. The personality that won prom king in high school has morphed into something that’s different but better. If you took that same prom vote today, I probably wouldn’t finish in the top five.

The past four years have come with their share of victories. I have made friends that’ll last a lifetime and have had the chance to work alongside some extremely intelligent and likeable people. Not to mention that I can fill out a resume like Pamela Anderson can fill out a sports bra.

However, like a preseason No. 1 in college football, I can’t help but feel that my success has only been on paper. When I start looking at my mistakes, failings and disappointments, I start looking like a .500 team.

I’ve lost out on love, friendships and unforgettable experiences because of reasons that have been both in and out of my control. I can’t help but feel that part of my college experience has been hollow since I was never really the typical 20-year-old.

But because of the decisions I’ve made the past eight semesters I have grown into a man who I’m comfortable with and proud of.

I’m a man who takes the faith that I’m told I should have in God and puts it into those that I love.

I’m a man who knows how to truly care for people and what it takes to accomplish goals.

I’m a man who’s improved not only as a writer but also as a friend, confidant and person.

College has been quite the journey but not one without rewards. But now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things.

This is the last column of mine that you’ll read in The Gannon Knight but it isn’t the final one you’ll ever read.

I’ll make sure of it.

So until next time, fare thee well.

 

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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