A Happy Accident: My Montclarion Journey

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Published May 27, 2021
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The Montclarion
Ian Long | The Montclarion

Joining The Montclarion was, as my favorite painter would say, a happy accident. I’ve never thought I would work for a newspaper since I’ve always been a fiction writer (horror, namely). Many people may be surprised to hear this, but I turned down my first offer to join The Montclarion.

I was at the 2017 honors program acceptance dinner with my mom. She heard Professor Tara George talking with a student about the newspaper.

“You should do that,” my mom, Tricia Pomaro, said. “You like to write, don’t you?”

“Not like that,” I said.

My mom still dragged Professor George over and I politely declined her offer for more information. I have no idea if she remembers this exchange, but I do.

I’m in a lot of clubs on campus: Team Rocky, German Club, German Honor Society, The Normal Review and the library Hawk Tales media club, which I started. I never thought I would join yet another club, but fate had other plans for me. It was on a Team Rocky shift that I decided to get more information on The Montclarion.

Rocky was running around somewhere with his other handler, so I stopped by The Montclarion table at this event. It was outside in the quad and sweltering. The first person I spoke to was Corey Annan, the current sports editor, who introduced me to Alexa Spear, my predecessor.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The journey from a contributor to a feature assistant, to the feature editor, was a wild one. I’ve always had the fear of disappointing my fellow Montclarionites since I’m not a journalism person and was learning on the job.

My favorite part of my editing days was “Jeopardy!” I’ve expounded on my love of the show in other articles, but I earned the title of “Jeopardy Queen” from the fellow Montclarion staff.

The best thing about The Montclarion is that we aren’t just co-workers: we’re a family.

From surprising Ben Caplan, the former photo and managing editor, with the office Nerf gun, to holiday parties, everyone at The Montclarion makes an active effort to make you feel included.

This sense of community was monumentally helpful during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Even when life was throwing all its rage down on us, The Montclarion staff buckled down and got the work done. All the while, editors and writers alike had a constant support system.

When I caught COVID-19, Wicket, my emotional support guinea pig, and I were moved to quarantine. Those “COVID-cation” blogs were my favorite things I wrote for The Montclarion. The warm reception I received from these blogs, from emails to a soup delivery, made me feel as welcome as ever on campus.

I haven’t always felt welcome everywhere I was.

When I was in high school, I was bullied relentlessly. One of my main bullies was the entire marching band, along with the band directors; a place that was supposed to be a fun community became a torment.

One of my worst memories was being told to “get over it” the day my dog was put down. I was too afraid to leave practice because the band had control of my grades.

I don’t really know who my other bullies were, but it was a constant inundation. I’ve had someone unzip my book bag as I was walking, bark in my ear, kick my book around and make me spill my coffee all over myself.

It’s safe to say college was an escape. But I was terrified this pattern would continue, that no one would want to be my friend or include me. I’ve never been so happy to be proved wrong in all my life.

The Montclarion was an integral part of this, along with the other organizations I’m involved in. They have helped me grow into a stronger, more confident person with the ability to lead.

It’s on that note I say thank you. Thank you for taking a chance on me. Thank you for helping me feel like I matter, like I belong somewhere. Thanks for everything.

“We don’t make mistakes, we just have happy accidents.” -Bob Ross

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