Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Dare to Believe in Your Dreams | Gina Columbus's Senior Goodbye

opinion-gina-goodbye-outlookI can remember the exact moment when I walked into The Outlook four years ago. Staring up at the masthead that frames the office door, I was meek, naïve – a completely different person than the woman I now see in the mirror. I knew the inverted pyramid and the basic elements of a news story, but really, I didn’t know anything about being a part of a newspaper – ethics, common mistakes, how to interview sources, the all hail AP style and, most importantly, the bonds you can have with your staff.

However, there was one thing I did know, and it was shortly after I first visited Monmouth University prior to fall 2008: I wanted to become Editorin- Chief of The Outlook. Little did I know, I would reach that dream just two short years later.

The shy, awkward freshman yes, “walked through the door and made the change.”

It has been an unbelievable, gratifying, insane, stressful, frazzling, educational and fulfilling two years of serving as the editor of The Outlook. I would like to think that my stressful persona and dire need to be a perfectionist subsided as my term went on, but no – they never did. Mistakes were made, but I am grateful for every single one. How would I have learned anything? You can have a boring newspaper with average content that never causes any controversy, or you can have a must-read that grabs the campus’ attention with well-written stories, great photos and an overall eye-catching design that ruffles a few feathers. I strive for the latter.

To keep in theme with Senior Goodbyes (I still can’t believe I’m writing one), I have many people I would like to thank that have made my time at Monmouth as special as possible.

First and foremost, to my family: Mom, Steve, Nikki, Nana and Pop- Pop, Aunt Colleen, Uncle Joey and Grandma. I am so blessed to have such an encouraging group of people who love me and support all of my dreams. Thank you for always being so supportive of The Outlook and being some of its (and my) biggest cheerleaders. It meant so much to get a phone call after you’ve read one of my articles or really liked an issue. I’m so thankful for all of you and for the hope you have given me to succeed. Momma, none of this would have been possible without you, so my biggest thanks go to you. I love you all so much!

The Outlook, in my opinion, has truly flourished in the four years I’ve been here. I sit here speechless, trying to come up with words to describe The Outlook editors. They’re not just hard-workers; they are an outstanding, beautiful group of people. No, they are more than that; they are family. We are a family.

Countless times we have laughed, cried, fought and debated with each other as if we’re all old married couples or brothers and sisters. Never have I experienced such a bond with others as I have with all of you. Each of you has your own special place in this office. I am forever thankful for the hours and effort you have put into this paper, for dealing with less than pleasant situations/people, and most of all for standing by my side and assisting me, even when there were so many better things to do. You all have influenced this paper, this staff and this newsroom.

Brett: As soon as I typed your name I started laughing. I cannot thank you enough for being able to crack my hard-ass shield and break my bad moods with an AHAHA or just by making the strangest faces. You really are the weirdest person I have opinion-gina-goodbyeever met, and you’re also the little brother I’m so glad I never had. However, this office would be completely lackluster without you. You have been an incredible managing editor these last two years. Your permanent smile, high-pitched voices and dead-on impersonations fill the office with love and a huge amount of energy. I’ve noticed how much you stepped up since September, and I have no reserves about leaving my throne to you next year. I am so proud of you and I thank you for being one of the most reliable editors and an even better friend. So glad I will still see you at APP this summer!

Joanna: Woman, I love ya. We go back since our Elmwood days, and I’m so grateful that we have grown closer every year. Thank you for always being there if I needed to vent about office-related (or not) situations and for never being judgmental. Los Angeles and Seattle were fantastic experiences that I’m so glad you were able to be a part of. I can’t even think about you being all the way in North Carolina in a few months. I’m so excited for you but it does break my heart a bit.

Jenna: GOD JENNA! You’re so awesome (what a surprise). I’ve always felt like you are the fearless version of me – I admire the way you take so many chances and handle every challenge with such a confident attitude. Thank you for all you have done with the paper – you transformed the club and Greek section last year and this year, you made features one of the strongest sections in The Outlook. Enjoy Italian life in the fall and I can’t wait to continue hearing about all of your wild adventures.

Anthony: I think I have spent more time with you in the last three years than most of the people at Monmouth, with constantly being together in the newsroom, classes and a 40-hour work week during the summer. As much as we bicker and disagree on many things, I know you’ll agree with me on this: you are an intelligent, brave guy and an excellent journalist. I’m grateful to have had you on my staff, even when you drive me crazy (ex. ARE YOU KIDDING ME). I know for a fact you will go so far in your career by how determined and goal-oriented you are. Cheers to never getting rid of each other, as we’ll be working together again for quite some time after graduation.

Jackie: You’re the best! Every time something scares me, all I think is DEAD or when I get angry I think LIKE WHATEVER BYEEEE. You rock at being an editor of three different sections. Brett will have a gem by having you as his managing editor next year. I’m SO happy you came to Seattle this year! I will miss you so much when I leave – make sure to keep the office, and Brett, in line for me.

Kelly: BEST AD GIRL EVER. What in the world would I have done without you this year? I am convinced that you cloned yourself and that’s how you’re able to manage all of the tasks Sandy and I give you. You have carried The Outlook into a realm I never thought possible – a prominent Facebook and Twitter presence is because of your hard work and dedication to this paper. Stay just the way you are- and I’m only a phone call away if Brett’s, Ed’s and Nick’s ‘Ad Girl’ jokes start driving you bonkers.

Matt: You may be the only person on the planet who stresses more than me, but you know what they say – great minds think alike! I’ve always appreciated how detail-oriented you are and how much you’ve truly cared for the entertainment and comics sections… as in every single microscopic detail. Thank you for always keeping me up to date with the latest “General Hospital,” Twilight and Zac Efron news. As much as everyone pokes fun, you know we all love you twice as much. Best of luck to you, even though you definitely don’t need it.

Nick: Oh how I will miss having someone come up with awesome headlines for stories (don’t worry Matt, I’m grateful for that, too). You are a perfect example of someone with a lot of potential who shows exemplary growth; you always have brilliant ideas for the paper. I’m still thankful for you and Jenna coming to represent The Outlook at Homecoming when no one else would. I know you would do anything to make this paper shine, and I will miss you terribly.

Chris Orlando: You came in this semester to take over politics barely knowing anything, and you know what? You really did an amazing job. I was so taken aback by your initiative with your writers and wanting to make the politics section the best it’s ever been. You’re an ‘above and beyond’ person, which will get you very far in life. Keep working hard – and yes, you can still call me ma’am.

Ed: I think you’re honestly the only person that’s ever been intimidated by and terrified of me, but thanks for making me feel tough once in a while. You are such an honest, good guy and a superb sports writer. I wish we had more time to have gotten to know each other, but I’m sure I’ll still see your constant posts in “The Outlook Peeps.”

Netta: You’re the big brother in my eyes. You’ve been the constant grad assistant in my life, since you have 15 degrees and all. I’ll always be in awe at how you can fix every computer issue in a matter of minutes. I can’t thank you enough for letting me express every concern I have, which take up a good chunk of production nights. You’ve always insisted that I was doing more than an average job – thank you for making me feel appreciated.

ARem: I can’t believe we’re both leaving this place. You’re doing an exceptional job at the International Business Times, and I’ll definitely continue to read your work. Thank you for being my right-hand woman! I’ll miss your crazy work and strange boy stories.

Sarah and Josh: You have completely transformed The Outlook into an interactive digital format. All of your hard work is immensely appreciated. Keep up the great work and Sarah, never stop with all of your wonderful ideas!

Brielle: Your design skills (as you know I’ve always admired) really helped us out on Tuesdays when we needed a quick fix. I know I can speak for everyone when I say you’re a special contribution to the paper.

Kevin, Casey, Martyna and Lauren: I loved being able to have four copyeditors; it’s made production days easier and flow smoothly. Reading all 24 pages with a fine tooth comb isn’t easy and you catch tons of ‘glitches’ prior to publication. Without you, the paper wouldn’t be at the caliber it is.

Ray: I knew you were going to be a huge asset to this school the moment we got to know each other. You joined Outlook, Hawk TV and WMCX all in the same week – and God if that doesn’t showcase determination and a drive for success, I don’t know what does. Just make sure to be a good boy! I know you’ll be taking over for Brian Williams on NBC in the near future.

Sandy: Office Coordinator/Office Mom/therapist/mentor/life coach/ advertising expert/friend. There’s probably a good 12 other titles I left out, but you get the idea. You will honestly be one of the people I’ll miss the most after graduation. I can’t even count the number of times I walked into your office, you took one look at me and automatically knew something was wrong. That chair to the right of your desk needs to have my name engraved on it for all the hours I spent stressing. All Outlook production weeks have been that much better having you in the office. Thank you, thank you, thank you for always being there for me to talk to. You’ve dropped everything just to help me with a minor or major crisis – even when you’re halfway out the door. You are such a strong, sweet, heartwarming woman and friend who has touched my life in the best way. We make an amazing team and you have no idea how much I will miss you. Don’t forget – when you retire I’m taking your job!

Evelyn: My Puerto-Rican mama! Thank you for being completely real with me 100 percent of the time, even when I didn’t want to hear it. My sheep (not goat) on the other hand…. haha, never mind. We both know it’s not the best-looking animal. You have made me crack up a million and one times. Your smile is contagious and your stories kept me entertained for hours. Love you Mama! I’m so proud to be your Caucasian daughter!

Professor Morano: You have been an astounding advisor and mentor for me. Your patience is incredible, and I thank you for making me realize some things I was so worried about really weren’t a big deal. You always put things into a better perspective and have educated me so much on the journalism world. Thank you for always believing in me and allowing me to grow and learn in this position.

Dr. Novek: I can remember sitting in your Intro to Journalism class as a freshman; thank you for teaching me so much from the very beginning!

To the entire Department of Communication: I may be biased in saying this, but I strongly believe that this is the best group of professors on campus. You have all taught me so many things that I have been able to use inside and out of the classroom. This department has such a bustling amount of energy and it was an honor to be a student in your classes.

My HR Ladies: To the nine greatest mothers a student employee could ask for: Mo, Sari, June, MaryAnn, Marie, Sharon, Kathy, Robin and Maureen. It has been an absolute pleasure being a part of your department for four years. You are an irreplaceable group of women! My weekly work schedule in your office has been some of the happiest (and least stressful) times at MU. You have seen me truly come out of my shell, and have helped me with everything from networking to finding a full-time internship and then job. I promise to visit frequently; I can’t imagine not seeing all of your smiling faces on a regular basis. Mo, you are the best supervisor a student could ever ask for.

Ajda: Remember that night in Maplewood when we admitted that we were best friends? We know exactly what the other is thinking just by giving that certain look. You have truly been an amazing roommate and friend to me – whether we’re stuffing our faces, having movie nights or going off on one of our crazy adventures somewhere. Your laugh is one of the things I will miss the most, and I’m sad to not be living with you for the first time in four years. I’ve shared more laughs with you and Sandra than I have with anyone. I knew within just a few short weeks that I found a true friend in you freshman year, and I want you to know how proud I am to be your MU mother.

Sandra: Lima bean, it was strange to not have you in the newsroom for the first time in a good two and a half years. Besides being one of my best friends, you are such a talented writer and editor. We have a million and one memories together that I will forever cherish. I’m so happy for all of the time we were able to spend together both in and out of Outlook. You should be so proud of everything you’ve been able to accomplish these last four years- I know I am! You’re the best laundry bear!

To my boyfriend, Chris: You are a prime source of encouragement for me. You have faith that I can do anything, and I am so appreciative to have had you by my side. Thank you for always making me smile after a long production day/week. I love you!

Frank: Hero, without you I would not be in the position I am today. You taught me everything you knew about running a college newspaper. I am obliged to call you my mentor, and for taking so much time to groom me for the throne two years ago.

President Gaffney: You have been an exceptional leader for the Hawks, and MU will surely miss you when you retire next year. Thank you for all of your kindness and support for The Outlook; it has meant everything to the staff and myself. One of my fondest Monmouth memories is serving as a guest on “Neighbor to Neighbor.” To all of the writers for The Outlook, thank you for your significant contributions over the years. Obviously, the paper would be nothing without your writing.

For all who ever criticized, critiqued, disagreed, etc. with the paper, I thank you, for you’ve made me work twice as hard to be the exceptional journalist I strive to be.

For the campus community, our audience, thank you for being such wonderful readers and providing feedback, both positive and negative. You have no idea how many times I have smiled just because I saw someone reading the paper on campus.

It has been an astounding honor to serve as Monmouth University’s Editor-in-Chief of The Outlook from 2010-2012. I have made some incredible memories and lifelong friendships that will never fade from my mind or my heart. Although the thought of wrapping up this final issue and clearing out my office saddens me, it helps knowing The Outlook is in great hands when Brett takes over this fall.

Monmouth, you are forever a part of me. Class of 2012, long live.

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151