“What do you write?”
That was one of the first questions the Collegian Editor-in-Chief asked me during my interview on August 27, 2015. It was a Thursday afternoon. It was a beautifully sunny day and the hustle and bustle of Welcome Week was still in full swing. There I was amid the festivities, a petite ball of nothing but anxiety waiting to interview for a position she so desperately wanted. I had sat the bench outside CC207 for over an hour with sweaty palms and nerves that ranked at least an 8 on the Richter Scale. I had finally worked up the nerve to go in and meet with who is now one of the most important people in my life, and attempted to put my thoughts into words for him. I tried to craft my answers intelligently, but to that question I could only respond with the generic, one-word, “Everything.”
At that time, I thought I was answering truthfully. I genuinely thought that the short fiction and rambling poetry I would spew haphazardly onto a page could be considered “everything” there was to write about, but I learned very quickly during my time reporting at the Collegian that I hadn’t been writing everything. Not even close.
My experience at LCCC and the Collegian is one that I will be forever thankful for. I made my best friends while doing what I loved to do. I was trained in the art of journalism by someone I look up to so much. I met so many important figures and got to know so many of the wonderful folks on campus. When I first started at LCCC, I embarrassingly wouldn’t have been able to name any member of the faculty, but now I can happily say the opposite. I have shaken hands with the great Dr. Roy Church, chatted over pizza with the very sweet Dr. Marcia Ballinger, taken a class with one of the most influential people in my writing career Kimberly Greenfield, and interviewed the amazingly talented and inspiring poet Bruce Weigl. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I hadn’t decided to come to LCCC, or been brave enough to dry my palms and walk semi-confidently into CC207 to interview for a job as a reporter for the Collegian.
I went into that newspaper office with very little other than nerves and a Star Wars purse full of notebooks that held scribbled words on the pages, but I walk out now with so much more than I could have ever hoped. I am able to leave this place with confidence, knowledge, new skills, fond memories, fantastic friendships, and a new name that I somehow got roped into happily allowing only one person in this world to call me.
In the fall I will be starting at Cleveland State University (a place that unfortunately has no record of any Chuck Weiss) with a major of English, something I had never previously believed was in the cards for me. I am going on to a future of doing what I love to do: writing. I will be leaving the place that I have found such a wonderful home in as Online Editor of the Collegian. I will dearly miss the not-so-smiling faces of the Collegian staff on print day. I’ll miss having to carry around a recorder with me 24/7. I’ll miss the note taking in the numerous meetings and events I was lucky enough to attend (anyone who knows me probably knows that this is not the end of my secretarial career). I will miss the deadlines, having to write in AP Style, and millions of calls to set up interviews. But who am I kidding, really? I fancy myself a writer, but I don’t quite think that the journalism bug is quite finished with me yet.
So, if you were to ask me what I write now, I wouldn’t be so naïve as to say my previous go-to response. I would answer something much more journalistic by nature, as has been so wonderfully ingrained in me:
What do I write? I write the truth.