Michael Blackson: Farewell article

MichaelHeadshot_editMichael Blackson
Staff Writer

I am finally graduating after five years as an English major, journalism concentration, and sociology minor undergraduate. I have to admit; it is a surreal event. I thought they were exclusive for celebrities on television shows, emotional music playing softly in the backdrop while a memorable member of the cast reminisces the good times, the bad times, and a hopeful, bright future in a sappy yet warming speech. I can only hope the same happens on the May 10th graduation, minus the music – the sobs and cries of my fellow classmates will suffice. My time at Millersville University cannot be summed in one word or even two. Too many great events, far too many bad ones, and spectacular opportunities have happened at this institution to summarize it into just a couple English words meaning fun, happy, or enjoyable. 

I have never been one to enjoy school. I am a huge advocate for education, but in terms of the coursework, you can count me out. You can cite my heavy procrastination, my love for video games, or sleeping away the days. Either way, I have had trouble applying myself to the courses I have taken over my five years here. Maybe it is because of the lack of a quality journalism program – which will be implemented this coming fall semester – and how I have had to take English courses, among other general education courses. Do not get me wrong; I have enjoyed the courses because amazing and intelligent professors taught them. But I could not find any interest in the coursework. There was math, literature, and geography? No thanks! 

I want to thank Professor Alan Foster and Philip Benoit of the English Department for holding up the journalism program as best they could. I was able to receive quality insight and education into the field and, alongside the school newspaper, has prepared me for the journalism industry as it moves ever closer toward the online track. Their textbooks, experience, and movies have enriched the classes they taught, and I hope them all the best as the University begins to develop a new multidisciplinary digital journalism program. 

Before the program, back in 2009, I was a freshman who just joined The Snapper campus newspaper. Up until now, five years later, I have been an active member of the newspaper in hopes to receive hands-on experience in the print media field. Without a doubt, I can say the experience has been the biggest highlight of my college years. Eugene Ellis has especially been there for me not only as the advisor to The Snapper, but as my constant friend, critic, and supporter in both my personal and educational life. He has been integral in instilling within me confidence and strength that has helped me obtain the position of news editor and, for the past three years, editor-in-chief of an award-winning student-run newspaper. 

As the president and even the news editor, I have met and talked to University officials and administration, something I can honestly say not many students get the opportunity to do. It has been an immense pleasure working with and talking to many of them, like Janet Kacskos, Dr. Breaux, President Anderson, Michelle Perez, Tom Richardson, and many others. The amount of passion they exhumed every time I met with them was simply breathtaking. The hard work involved with their position is noticeable in the ever-progressing direction of the University. 

Majority of my praise and love has to be devoted to the consistently passionate and hard working staff I have had the honor of working with over the three years as president. Many students graduated and others took their place, but the quality of the newspaper has never faltered. In fact, it has continued to increase. It is absolutely amazing how students with a full course load and part-time jobs can devote so much time to a volunteer position. It has not only been all about work, work, work. Friendships have been made, bonds have been formed, and connections will last far beyond Millersville University. I have met my best friends in Zachary Staab and Danielle Kreider, and my spectacular girlfriend, Maria Barcoski, through The Snapper, and among other friends who will last me a lifetime. 

I cannot begin to write how blessed I am to have attended Millersville. From the faculty to the administration, the students and the organizations, I will truly miss this place, and can hope I will return to the University as a proud and accomplished alumnus.