Column: So long, and thanks for all the bylines

By Miranda Manier, Managing Editor

I have not taken a single journalism class. In fact, I’m not positive if I have even taken a single class in the Communication Department. But here I sit, teary-eyed at my keyboard, thinking about how I would not have had a single opportunity that I have experienced the past 2 1/2 years if not for the Columbia Chronicle.

When I applied to work here, it was on a whim. I had one internship under my belt, writing things you could barely call articles for a website that has since gone under, and it occurred to me that it would be good for me to have a reason to write regularly on deadline. I had no idea I was finding the launching pad for not only my career but the rest of my life.

I started at Columbia a semester late, and if you think it’s hard to make friends and find your place at this school normally, try missing all the traditional orientations and dorm experiences. I moved off campus as soon as I could and spent most of my time with people who have never stepped foot in a Columbia building, so I had no sense of community at this school.

The Chronicle completely changed all that.

Not to sound like every single other goodbye column that has ever been written by people leaving this paper, but the Chronicle was a home. I made lifelong friends here and met some of the best professional mentors I could have asked for. My work has improved from barely-articles to award-winning ones, and my fleeting interest in journalism has blossomed into what now feels like an inevitable passion.

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The Chronicle taught me who I am, what I want to do and how I can get there. I am incredibly grateful for each person whose path I crossed in that cramped newsroom, but more than anything, I am grateful for the institution itself.

Student-run newspapers are rare and special; they turn students into real journalists as they push themselves and take ownership of their work. The job is often thankless and always demanding, but I would not trade a minute of the many hours I eagerly gave for anything.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had here to become something I didn’t know I could be. I am grateful that so many more students will be able to take advantage of this paper and learn, grow, stumble and blossom within its walls and behind its bylines.

This career path might never make me an extravagant amount of money, so I might never be able to give back to this paper the way I wish I could. But if gratitude and love count for anything, I would keep the Chronicle’s always-precarious budget afloat for years to come.