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Headline goes here: One final farewell

Shelby Reynolds

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If there’s anything I’ve learned from my time at Wichita State, it is about commitment.

In fact, I have nightmares about printing “headline goes here.”

I’ve worn many hats during my four years as a Shocker, but with all of them, I’d like to think I’ve thrown myself at every project with enthusiasm and fervor.

I first learned it from the leaders before me — family, teachers, colleagues, bosses, advisers — who worked long hours, put in extra effort to provide feedback and always had five minutes to talk, no matter how swamped they were. I’ve been lucky to have several strong women in my life that served as a model for leadership and class.

It started with my family, who worked hard and taught me that no matter what I do in life, to enjoy it. 

Then in middle school, my teachers challenged me to be a better person and to find my passion; at the time, it was environmental science. I learned I could write when I wrote to nominate a teacher for a Golden Apple award, and she won. Flores taught me to love myself band to smile at strangers.

In high school, I became a student leader and found constant support from my teachers. Mrs. Morse and I spent many delirious hours together in the newsroom, and Mr. Davis challenged me as a writer. He made me condense a 10-page paper to four. I thought he was mad.

The challenges — and sometimes frustrations — continued in college, but I found new mentors to remind me of my commitment to my education, my future and my relationships. I learned to be brave and to stick up for what I thought was right, even if I was stubborn sometimes. I rode that struggle bus round trip a couple different times.

If I have any advice — as if I have the authority to give it — it’s that no matter what you do in life, do it well and do it right. Be a committed student, employee, daughter, girlfriend and leader. I don’t like to half-ass anything. 

I’m leaving The Sunflower in wonderful hands, as if it were ever mine to hold. I’ve had a whirlwind four years on staff, first as a reporter, then as a copy editor, managing editor and ultimately editor-in-chief. I’ve learned so much about this university and the people that make it a living, breathing campus. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly, but I’m ultimately leaving here with an experience I’ll always cherish.

Now I’m headed toward a new adventure — a features reporting position at a daily newspaper in southwest Florida — where I plan to commit myself to telling the stories of the people that live, work and play there.

If it weren’t for all those role models, I wouldn’t be strong enough to face this journey with a full heart and a smile on my face. Yes, it’s scary to move away from the place I’ve always called home, where I don’t know a single person, and to practically start a new life. I feel prepared, however, to take it on with grace and confidence. Thanks, Mom.

I ended my high school senior column with these same words, and I can’t help but do it again because they are all the more real now. In the words of Mr. Davis:

Be brilliant. Go

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