Better Late Than Never: Jonathan Bailey’s Senior Farewell

My first three years of college were directionless. After the pandemic threw a wrench in my plans, I did not feel like I was going to make much of an effort to try and salvage my college experience. Then, The Outlook came along. In the midst of my last year of school, I finally found a place where I felt I belonged. But, despite finding a new home, it is time to move forward and say farewell.

My mom had always badgered me to get involved and try and write for the school paper. After all, writing is basically one of my only skills. However, the process was not linear, and actually kind of happened by accident.

I started the year looking for an on-campus job, and came across a posting from our lovely office coordinator, Tarra Emery, looking for someone to deliver the newspaper around campus. After my first day, I found Melissa Badamo, who was a New Student Orientation Leader with me in the past, in the office working. She let me know that they needed a sports editor, and I was pretty much sold; what an opportunity.

As someone who majored in English, I found out pretty quickly that journalism was what I really wanted to be in, and The Outlook gave me that chance. Before this year, I had never been on the west coast, nor had I been on a plane. The Outlook gave me that chance.

Our trip to San Francisco and having the opportunity to learn from pros who put food on their table doing this is something I will never forget. I had already gotten my start with FanSided in the summer, landing my first paid writing opportunity flush with professional connections, but running my own section in The Outlook took that another step further.

All of us work hard, and it is especially difficult to maintain your own standards when you are flooded with homework and other things, but the bonds we made with each other over the product we all helped create made it well worth it.

Still, I would not have joined The Outlook if I did not feel like I could do it. That is not possible without some of the support I received both here on campus, and at home. During my time at Monmouth, I have made many lasting connections with my peers and professors, but a few stick out in particular.

I want to thank Professor Noel Belinski for making me believe in my abilities as a writer, especially at a time where I was a freshman looking to find my path at a brand new place. I am grateful to Professor Susan Stever, who pushed me to do what I enjoy doing, and to do what is right for myself and others. My development as a writer and a person would not be possible without Professor Michael Thomas, who inspired myself and countless others to never stop thinking outside of the box and stay true to ourselves.

Mom, thank you for always being my biggest supporter, even at times where I didn’t deserve it. Thank you for always reading my work and sharing it with others, even when it was only ‘okay’. You always keep me going when it seems impossible to continue, and I am forever in your debt.

To my friends and family, thank you for making me feel like I had a talent somewhere in me at times when I felt talentless. I do this for you, because no achievement is worth celebrating alone. For anyone else out there who might be reading, thank you for being you. Never change who you are, and keep striving to go upwards and onwards. If you blink, you might just miss a great opportunity waiting for you. Until next time.