A few weeks ago, I came up with the idea of inviting some former members of the Spartan staff to attend a Spartan meeting, just to see what’s up and give their advice to current staff members.
The idea blossomed into a Spartan alumni panel, where they can share their experiences, give advice, answer questions, and where they are now.
I invited Austin Crosier, Caton Deuso, Max Tempel, Brendan Crowley, and Jay Mullen to come to our Special Spartan Meeting.
And I’m going to be honest, this whole idea was a bit selfish.
I have been officially part of the Spartan since I was a sophomore, and am now going into my senior year. I have met a lot of characters during my time at the newspaper, but these five were so vital, not only in my journalism development, but also my growth as a college student.
They became not only some of my closest friends, but also mentors. I adored going into the Spartan office because I knew they were always going to be there, to crack a stupid inside joke that I didn’t really understand or to work their magic on building the newest issue from the ground up, as I watched gleefully and hoped that I can be like them someday.
And then, everything got ripped away from us. We went from writing about the coronavirus, to having to shut down campus because of coronavirus.
I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to watch them be incredibly stupid yet hilarious at the same time – one last time. I didn’t get to watch them work their magic one last time.
The day that campus shut down, I was literally on my way home to pack to spend the night in Deuso’s dorm room so we can all wake up early the next morning and go to New York City for a journalism conference. Caton and I had made a reservation to go to Korean BBQ.
Four of them were graduating that year and one had one semester left.
The idiocy yet inspiration that flowed out of the basement of Leavenworth didn’t exist anymore, and since they all left, I try to embody all of them. What would they do in this instance? Would they like this story? Would they like this page layout? Would they be proud?
And I just missed them. More than anything I missed them.
And luckily, they all said yes to my crazy request, and took time out of their crazy busy schedules to log on to a Zoom meeting at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday.
And it was so nice.
It was so nice to see them all in one place again.
And yes, there were inside jokes. But hearing them talk about their experiences, like Crosier talking about how he got started with the Spartan, Deuso talking about burnout and how they dealt with it, Tempel talking about his favorite story to write, Crowley talking about how the Spartan has helped him, and Mullen giving advice for lack of inspiration.
They will always be my mentors. Hearing them talk about everything and give their expertise was so fun, and I really took everything they said to heart.
The meeting was around two hours. Some new staff members who had never met them before, also attended.
And, at the end, we just talked. Talked about how to properly eat a KitKat, which then led to them basically interviewing new reporter Elizabeth Lalumiere. Oh, and of course advisor Dave Blow plugged the new COVID Chronicles book.
It was closure. It was closure that I didn’t know I needed.
It will never be as it once was. I’ll be graduating next year, and soon enough we’ll all be alumni of the Spartan – Dave’s old students that used to write for the paper.
But I’m so thankful, that for one more time, I got to see my inspirations in the same “room,” all together again in our tiny boxes.