Scarecrow, I’ll miss you most of all: Student publications a pillar in college career

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, and the same can certainly apply to a new job.

When I stepped into my role as editor-in-chief, I expected to fulfill the duties fleshed out on the job description — oversee the newsroom operations, cast the vision for the Lariat and run the weekly editorial board and daily meetings. The editors before me had accomplished their job with seeming finesse and expertise. With the right goals and attitude, I thought, this semester would be another check mark in the books.

What a wake-up call. To tell the truth, my semester was mostly acting like I knew what I was doing.

I began with a staff of mostly newbies, and the returning members were coming off a rough spring semester of trash talking and hurt feelings. In a total brand overhaul, I had been given the responsibility of completely redesigning the print edition of the newspaper and the updated version of our smart phone app. On top of choosing a new website layout and re-establishing our daily headline inbox service, Morning Buzz, I felt severely in over my head. And that was just the summer.

From there, we hit the ground running, and that first issue of the semester, we rallied together as a new team, barely acquainted with each other, and produced one heck of a Welcome Back paper.

But there’s so much more to the job than what the job description states, or what my former editors let on. Being an editor is the truest definition of a servant leader. I’ve learned to react to problems with tact and composure, to put the team’s needs before my own and to lead a group with diverse opinions and personalities. I had to make hard decisions for the good of the staff, praying they would support and trust me in return.

I’ve been so blessed by this staff of dedicated, talented journalists who challenge me daily, and I owe a lifetime of debt to my coworkers and advisers at the Lariat.

I’ve spent all four-and-a-half years of my college career in student publications, both here and at my junior college. Journalism was never a part of my plan entering college, but somehow, every significant moment in those years can be linked back to StuPub. I’m awestruck at God’s perfect plan and sovereignty that is so much more spectacular than anything I could have fathomed.

Whenever I doubted myself or needed some ears to bounce off ideas, my advisers were there to give me a judge-free zone or a piece of advice to steer me in the right direction.

Many nights were spent up in the newsroom working well into the night, sometimes even curling up under my desk for a cat nap before class the next morning. But every hour I logged in this office — in work, study and play — has been significant. I walked out the door each time having been enriched by the people inside.

The Lariat is my home, my sanctuary to create meaningful, impactful things. Above producing stellar content, my vision for the team was to maintain an environment that fostered the same encouragement I’d been given over and over. I hope more than anything I’ve accomplished that.

I will miss the late nights, the pressing deadlines, the daily grind of putting out a paper and the healthy competitive atmosphere. Most of all, I will miss my StuPub family. I’m a better version of myself because of them than I ever imagined my college experience would make.

Taylor Griffin is a senior journalism major from Tyler. She is the editor-in-chief of the Lariat.