We create stories, but ours are still being told


We create stories, but ours are still being told

By Mackenzie Crosson

Being from Michigan, I visited Chicago often during summer vacations growing up. I was amazed by the massive flow of people crowding the sidewalks, breathtaking lakefront and the idea that endless opportunity weaved between buildings and stretched into the sky. During my junior year of high school, I visited this city I had grown to adore during Memorial Day weekend with my older brother. Walking through the fresh summer streets, I thought out loud: “What if I went to college here?” He replied, “Why don’t you?”

Five years later, my vision of Chicago is entirely different. The crowds of people still inspire a great energy within me, Lake Michigan has become my source of blissful solitude and the scope of opportunity still beats my small Midwestern town—but now, I’ve built a home that 16-year-old me had only dreamed of.

“You’ll find a home here” is always something you hear from employees at The Chronicle, whether you’re visiting during open house or sitting in your first training session. At first, it might sound cheesy, but the people who told me this were right—and now they hold an immensely special place in my heart. After four years in Chicago, it only took me two semesters to find a home behind The Chronicle’s front doors.

The first time I applied in summer 2016, I got rejected. I had admired The Chronicle since my first visit to Columbia, and the fact that I was possibly not a good fit for my renowned campus newsroom was a devastating thought. Maybe I just wasn’t ready or maybe it wasn’t the right time, but I like to believe the universe was saving my experience for this special year. 

Kevin Tiongson, you have become my partner-in-crime and greatest collaborator. Thank you for being dedicated—and crazy—enough to spend 24 consecutive hours in a diner with me to create a story that I will forever recognize as a pivotal point in my growth and development.Despite our bickering and excessive eye rolls, you’ve kept me grounded when life felt all but inspiring.

Chris Richert, I have never met a more selfless, inspiring and thoughtful human being. Thank you for your endless supply of love and support, your calming words when the future felt scary and for allowing this place to hold so much meaning for everyone who passes through its doors.

Heartbreak, I’ve learned, comes in many forms. It comes with the exhausting practice of trusting that the universe has a larger plan for me, even when the future is flooded with uncertainty; with the thought of leaving the city that has shaped me into the person I now am; and with the idea that, in the near future, my daily experiences with the dear friends I’ve made will only be alive as memories.

Life as I know it is ending May 12, and this is exciting, hopeful and terrifying at the same time. Though I don’t know how long I’ll remain in Chicago or what city I might find myself in, I take comfort in that there are so many stories left to tell, including my own. The Chronicle has been a place I’ve loved to hate, sometimes hated to love, and certainly hate to leave, but one thing is for sure: There is a heart string that will keep me tied to the second floor of 33 E. Congress Parkway.