Brutally Honest: Farewell, Millikin

Denny Patterson, Senior Editor

All things eventually come to an end. However, we do not expect that time to come as quickly as it does. Needless to say, I cannot believe that this is my last time writing “Brutally Honest.” For the past two and a half years, I have literally devoted by blood, sweat and tears to the “Decaturian.” From covering Millikin’s chaos to challenging readers to think outside the box, my time here is done. It is time to say goodbye.

Truthfully, the feeling is bittersweet. Even though I am ready to walk across the stage this upcoming Sunday, I am going to miss the hustle and bustle of the “Dec.” Seriously, there will be a void in my life for a while. If I had the chance to go through the constant headaches and crying fits again, I would do it in a heartbeat. Why? This is my passion.

It’s funny how most people unexpectedly fall into their chosen aspirations. Like I have mentioned before, I was going to be a theatre major. I wanted to perform and be a star. Now that I look back on that, I wouldn’t have made it very far. There might be a chance someday in my future, but not at this moment. Right now, I have my writing. I feel that I am ready to call myself a journalist.

To see how my writing has grown and developed since I started back in 2011 is astonishing. Ever have those “what was I thinking” moments?  I sure do. When I first started writing for the “Dec,” I was more focused on views and opinions. I wanted to be the uncensored, opinionated jerk that didn’t care if people disagreed. It was appealing for some odd reason.

Now that I look back on that, I didn’t realize how unprofessional that seemed. Dr. Carmella Braniger even told me that I needed to take on a more professional approach when I wrote my personal writing theory for sophomore writing portfolio. I now understand what she meant. I am ashamed that I did not want to give any other type of writing a try. Yes, news was fun, but I didn’t see myself as a reporter. How quickly that changed.

I did not think I would love writing for news as much as I do now. Not only did I craft and develop myself as a writer, but I was given so many wonderful opportunities. I found hidden gems within the journalism world. From handling the sensitive issue of death to reporting in an unbiased manner dealing with Millikin’s politics and administration transitions, I felt myself growing. Most importantly, I learned how to communicate and build great relationships with Millikin’s faculty and staff. I value this a lot because these are people that can help you in the long run. I was always the kid who befriended principals and teachers. Go ahead and call me a “pet.” I’m at least looking out for my future.

Not only am I proud of myself, but I am extremely proud of my peers. The struggles of a student-run publication are endless, but the result is incredibility rewarding. Without are rants and venting sessions, the paper would not be as good as it is now. Each and every one of us diligently devotes time in making a final product which results in an amazing feeling.

Within the last year, this paper did a complete 360. Remember when the “Dec” was a complete joke? From tasteless writing to false information, we were less than amateur. No wonder Millikin was embarrassed. I am appalled to even have my name associated with those past issues. I pray to God we never go back to that.

Some have asked me what my favorite part about writing for the newspaper is. The answer is simple – when people compliment me on my work. This tells me they took the time to read what I had to say, and they thought it was well written. What’s even better is when students and faculty approach me to cover a story. There is no greater sense of pride than that for a journalist, at least that’s what I think. Having your work go unnoticed is another reward that comes with the job.

In a way, I feel like I was part of an era for the “Dec.” It’s been a good run, and I am ready for a much deserved break.

Lastly, I would like to thank every individual who has made the “Dec,” what it is. From my fellow writers to the paper’s constant readers, thank you for putting up with me for the past five semesters. It’s been a journey I will never forget. Without your support and encouragement, I would not be ready to pursue higher aspirations within the journalism field.

Now that I have come to the closing of this piece, the bittersweet feeling is becoming a bit more emotional. It’s been real, Millikin, but you have not heard the last from me. As they say, one door closes and another one opens. The next chapter is about to begin, and I will make this institution proud.

I bid you all goodbye. Farewell, Millikin.