I’ll never forget that cold, rainy day that I received a text from Kane Mitten, Arts & Life Editor at the time, asking if I would like to work as a copy editor for The Northerner. I gave a bland reply, “I got you man,” but inside I welled up with pride. I was between classes and needed to study but I rushed to my truck as the tears began to blur my vision.
I sat in my truck, bawling, I wanted to tell my father so bad but there are no phones in heaven. Not to take away from my mom, she’s always been my biggest fan, but my dad passed away when I was eight years old. He missed almost every milestone. He always promoted my education, as a child I didn’t have a playroom — I had a “science room” posterized with the likeness of Einstein, Sebastian Bach and world maps.
On Saturday, I graduated and that same pain rocked me internally. All I know to say is that I hope in some way, somehow, he is able to see me building onto the foundation that he established. I didn’t let the house fall when he left us, I rebuilt, although in high school no one would’ve seen me graduating, let alone from NKU.
Shout out to Miss. Alig, thanks for telling me that I would never make it. I really needed to hear that. Without that advice I would’ve never joined the world’s most elite fighting force and served 11 years and four combat deployments. The Marine Corps taught me to persevere, they would always preach that sweat saves blood, I brought that mentality into the civilian world. I wake up every morning realizing that today is a blessing and do my best to make the most of it. Without those words I would’ve never been so driven to follow my dream.
In school, I knew that I wasn’t as smart nor as talented as the others in the newsroom but I knew that I could always be the hardest worker in the room if I just put my mind to it. I would ask myself everyday and for every project, “If you were accused of being a good journalist, would the jury have enough evidence to convict you?” Without going into too much detail, that question drove me to put my all in every project that I worked on.
I stand here today with a journalism degree. I can’t give myself all the credit as there were many along the way who molded me into the man I am today. There’s no way I can cover them all, this article would turn into a book. The most influential people in my career at The Northerner are as follows:
Dr. Bien-Aimé– You always kept up with me, even when I wasn’t your student. You always went above and beyond your duty, thanks for believing.
Billy Keeney- I loved writing for your news section! Thanks for always supporting my wild and crazy ideas, most didn’t work out and you still kept motivating me.
Kane Mitten- You are the coolest in any room that you walk into. You reached out to me and gave me an opportunity that I didn’t even realize was a possibility!
Sierra Newton- Hands down, my favorite writer on the team. You always welcomed me, often I felt that I didn’t belong, you changed that dynamic for me and I’m forever grateful.
Abby Behrens- Thank you for being patient with me! I have learned so much from you on the video side of the house. I have always admired your work for The Northerner, I wish I had the creativity that you do, it’s amazing!
If I could direct my audience for this article to take away one thing it would be that anything is possible. Along with being a full-time student, I am a full-time worker, a full-time father and husband. I grew up fatherless, my mom had to work multiple shifts a day to provide for my brother and I. We had the things we needed and I’m grateful for that but paying for college wasn’t realistic.
I know school brings a lot of anxiety, stress and pressure; push through it, prove to yourself that you are capable. At the end of the day, YOU are the most dependable person you know. Be confident, never quit and always push yourself outside of your comfort zone. This is see you later, not a goodbye, thank you Northerner crew! Norse Up!