When I came to MSU, I enrolled in music technology. I soon realized that wasn’t for me, however, and took a year off. I got a job, listened to music and read. After working my way through the catalogs of Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson, I decided to come back to school — this time enrolled in English writing.
Coming back to school, even after only a year away, was a scary experience. I was only a year or two older than most other freshmen, and while that often wasn’t an issue, it sometimes felt like quite the chasm. Luckily, I found the professors in the department were amazing, and I’ll owe a debt to a great number of them for a great number of things for a great long while.
So before I leave, thanks are in order. Chronologically: Thank you, Robert Bennett, for bringing music and art into the literature classroom, helping me see all kinds of art in a light I couldn’t have fathomed before beginning classes — and thank you for introducing me to Bob Dylan. Most of the time, though I went to the finest school, all right, when shadows are fallin’ and I’ve been here all day, I realize there’s only one thing I did wrong: the pump don’t work because the vandals took the handles. Thanks to the now retired Michael Sexson for believing in me and my writing, and pushing me to apply at The Exponent — it’s meant more to me than either of us could have known. Thanks to Doug Downs for volunteering to write a letter of recommendation when I applied to the paper, when the thought of a professor offering their time for me had never occurred to me. Thanks to Susan Kollin for taking a chance on me, allowing me to enroll in your senior capstone class when I was only a sophomore — it was the most interesting class I’ve had, bar none. Thanks to Zack Bean and Ben Leubner for classes that fascinated me when others made it hard to get through the day, and thanks to anyone I have forgotten for everything you did.
With all due respect to my many excellent professors, however, none of you came close to The Exponent. When I started working for the paper in my freshman year, I came in with nothing more than a desire to write about music and movies. Flash forward three years, and I’ve learned more about good writing than I did in any writing class.
The Exponent gave me the chance, first as a writer, then as an editor, to deal with real writing day in and day out. I had the opportunity to meet and write on a who’s who of local favorites, from The Bent Bones to Cure for the Common to the Hollowtops to Hemingway to Rose Gold and, after their breakup, Liv. I sat backstage at “Glengarry Glen Ross,” covered a metal concert with 666 words and more. For all of that and so much more, thank you. Thanks to Nicki Duggan for hiring me, #BossBev for keeping me around, all of the production night crew for making every Wednesday night a party and all my writers, past and present, for consistently showing the other sections how it was done. From the culture desk, thank you all.