Get the heck outta here!


I swore I wouldn’t do this. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do what countless other parting Northerner staff members have done in the past. I wanted my goodbye to be unique. In short, I wanted to not focus it on The Northerner itself.

But attempting to do so only left me with a blank page. How can I omit it? How can I not focus the thesis of my goodbye on anything else but The Northerner? The truth is I can’t. After all, it’s only through the pages of this publication that I had any semblance of a “college experience.” More importantly, The Northerner saved me from total insanity.

Prior to the start of my tenure here, my day went as follows: class, work, homework, sleep and repeat. This routine had me feeling out of place, and out of touch with the NKU community. It was just a place I was going to get my degree. But that all changed when was hired on staff at The Northerner in the fall of 2008.

Since then, I’ve gone on to be an A&E editor and am now writing these parting words as print editor-in-chief. To describe everything I have learned and gained both on this campus and at this paper into this goodbye is to not do either of them full justice. I’ll just say that NKU used to mean nothing more to me than a venue to earn my degree, but is now a university that I love and believe in. My only regret is that I didn’t realize how great this university was earlier on in my career.

The professors here have played a fundamental role in my development as a person and a writer. As for The Northerner, well, it’s taught me a lot more than how to write on deadline. I have learned more about myself in the three small rooms that make up this office than anywhere else in my life. In my time here, I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most colorful and passionate people I have ever, and will ever, meet.

For my fellow ‘Northerners’ who read this, know that all of you have greatly impacted my life and I will never be able to thank you enough — Tuesday nights will never be the same again. Thank you to everyone, both Northerner staff and NKU faculty, who ever believed in me and gave me the opportunity to build a better life for myself. This goodbye piece is typical, but all of you made my college experience and my life anything but.


I wish I got to put more work into this farewell thing, but the truth is I’ve had to allocate an unholy amount of time to ensuring it ends up being merited (that I do in fact graduate, if you didn’t catch that). Truthfully, I thought I’d have had this written a time long ago, yet here I am, finishing it on production night.

As predicted, it has been the craziest semester I’ve taken on since I began attending college in the fall of 2003 — I’d say something to the effect of ‘yeah, yeah, laugh it up’ if I couldn’t so confidently bet money that 70 percent of the students reading this are in the same boat, i.e., on an extended plan of some sort.

Considering only the somewhat ominous opening of this piece, one might assume I’ve had this ridiculous semester of intense time juggling and confused, intellectual debauchery. Though it has been crazy, the truth is mostly to the contrary.

A great deal of my personal growth in the past year has been a direct result of my work at this publication. I’ve done everything from graphic design to Web programming, and I genuinely feel prepared for an entry-level job in an exceptionally wide array of disciplines.

I remember entering college a bare-assed freshman with an odd mashing of talents, and just sort of playing football and studying computer science because it felt right. No particular reason. I just sort of closed my eyes and felt my way through the hallway into my higher education.

It took three years to figure out that I was unhappy with where I was. I came to NKU and chose journalism because I liked to write and was pretty good at it. I was completely oblivious to the fact that my computational thinking and background in computer programming would be of any significance.

Then I threw a few e-mails around with the arts and entertainment editor for The Northerner — some ridiculous character… I think his name was Timothy Owens. Knowing vaguely of my technical abilities, Tim got me on board here at the paper as part of the layout team, doing some writing here and there.

In all seriousness, if not for the guy whose farewell is on this same page, I’d not be, err… on this same page. It is similarly unlikely that I’d have taken the same path of independent exploration into journalistic programming that I did, or had this opportunity to expand upon each of my existing talents and discover new ones.

Thanks are in order for Timowens (you can’t articulate the space, so why spell it with one?) for getting me in and making it a great semester, to Gayle for naming me to this position, and to all of my coworkers and friends who have not only been awesome at life, but also put up with my over-the-top Joemania.

PS – Happy Birthday Tim!