Star editor: Prepared to leave, say goodbye

By Rachel Scaman

I have been looking forward to writing this column since I became an editor for the Northern Star. You would think this would be easy for me since I’ve been writing my whole life. However, nothing could be more difficult. There’s no easy way to say goodbye to a place that has been my home for the last four years.

Not only is this my last day as a Northern Star editor, but it is my last week before graduation. It still doesn’t seem real, and it probably won’t settle in until I walk across that stage Saturday.

I am happy to report I am leaving college prepared to take on the scary world outside of NIU. I could credit this to hard work and determination, but that really has nothing to do with it.

Sure, I’ve learned how to balance being a full-time student in a sorority while working multiple jobs — one of them being an editor for the best daily college newspaper in Illinois — but that’s not the reason why I’m prepared to leave college. Well, not completely.

You see, although I am proud of myself for juggling all those activities, responsibilities and work, I am grateful more than anything. Because without all of that, I would not have met some of the greatest people I could have had the pleasure of meeting, and that would have been a shame.

DeKalb is a small town, with a population not even close to the big cities I plan to visit after I graduate. But if I meet people that are even half as amazing as some of the people I have met during my time at NIU, I won’t have to worry.

It’s so important to surround yourself with people who teach you important lessons. Lessons like: laughter is the best medicine, it’s only a bad day, not a bad life and that kindness, generosity and, most importantly, love makes the world a better place. Sure, there have been people who have tried to convince me otherwise, but the people who have instilled those lessons in me are my Alpha Phi sisters, the journalists at the Northern Star and the friends I have made along the way. The impact they’ve had on me is greater than I can express.

It’s been an honor to be a part of Alpha Phi and the Northern Star. They’ve brought me friends that have eventually become family and have given me memories I will always treasure. My sisters and the Star kids will be the hardest people to leave behind, but the best parts of me are the parts that have been created from knowing them. I have learned so much from them and now, as a senior, I can see the potential for greatness in newer members of both organizations that was once seen in me.

If I could give some advice to incoming freshmen, it would be to go into college with an open mind and an open heart. The first couple years are for you to make mistakes and figure out what dreams are worth chasing and what dreams should stay behind after you leave. But most importantly, college is a time for you to find yourself, even if that mean losing your way from time to time — and believe me, you will lose your way.

College isn’t always easy, and I have had nights where I wasn’t so optimistic. My last piece of advice for those who will inevitably have those nights too is to not give up and find happiness in the little things, the things we often take for granted. That’s a lesson I wish I would have learned earlier.

There are certainly things I would change if I could rewind the clock and do everything over again, but my college experience has made me the person I am today and that’s a person I’m extremely proud to be. I’ll never be able to thank NIU enough for that.