To My Relatives:
My freshman year at Kent was riddled with change. Everything I did and sought to do was a distinct reflection of my personal pursuit to find the true “Emma.” I asked myself a lot of questions along the way. Who was I? What specifically did I see myself doing with a journalism degree? What spaces and people did I envision my words and characters falling in line with?
Initially, I found myself making a lot of excuses along the way. My first semester felt like a trial run. I was too worried about rejection and failure to apply or attempt to have a hand in student media. I found myself avoiding risks. I even spent the entire first semester sticking to one exact Boar’s Head order without ever changing it up. I took the same routes to and from class each and every day. The idea of riding the Parta buses alone freaked me out and I couldn’t bring myself to do it without a friend.
However, there were a few moments of risk-taking in that first semester that I truly believe helped catapult me to the person I am today: things like applying for and working an on-campus job, joining University Band, changing the kind of cheese I got on my Boar’s Head order and applying to The Burr.
My second semester was truly a blessing. I found my risks paying off. I took a new risk and tackled a new challenge at least once a day. I sought help when it came to my mental health. I tried new sandwich orders and food orders. I took the scenic route everywhere I went, even if it meant waking up considerably earlier to get where I needed to be. The Parta bus became my savior whenever I decided to wear heels for far distances. I changed my style, my attitude, my perspective. If I were to run into anyone I haven’t seen in a particularly long time, I doubt they would recognize the person I have transformed into.
I am so thankful for the incredible friends and people I was blessed to meet and grow close to this year. My heart is warm here in quarantine as I reflect on the people and places that made my first year at Kent so beautiful: the friends I went on food runs with, the beautiful people in student media, the professors I fostered strong connections with and the risk-taking that led me to finding who I really am.
I think deeply. I feel deeply. Words carry heavy meaning within my heart. I can’t talk or write without thinking incredibly deeply about my words beforehand. Perhaps that’s what has led me so strongly to journalism. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect lately on this first year, and the sorrow I felt knowing it was shortened just as I was seeing this “true Emma” emerge.
I’ve read every email. I’ve read every comment. Sometimes texts or voicemails. I saw your faces at my concert. Every little sign or symbol. For a while now, I’ve wrestled with finding the words to describe how I feel. How I’ve felt. And I still can’t do it in a way that feels adequate. I suppose that’s how it goes.
The truth is, I am more than okay. I am not the Emma you knew before. I don’t think I ever will be again. And whether you know it yet or not, that is a beautiful, good thing. Someday I’ll have the courage to write to you more personally. But in this moment, I am wonderfully empowered and feeling stronger than I have ever felt before.
I will close this blog with a few quotes from professors of mine who have put their faith and inspiration in me this year. They have become my mantras and reasons for why I do what I do: “The future needs brilliant minds like yours” and “You’ve got a future in journalism there, kid.”
The New Emma
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Hi, I’m Holly Liptak, a senior journalism student from Akron and the editor-in-chief of The Burr this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you interesting, humorous and hard-hitting stories that tap into current events, trends and the lives of those who have made a home in Kent, Ohio. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.
Emma Andrus is a junior journalism student from Olmsted Falls, Ohio, with minors in public relations and creative writing. This is her fourth semester with The Burr. Emma is also an administration reporter for The Kent Stater/KentWired and an intern with Kent State’s Collaborative NewsL@b. She has been passionate about storytelling and the power of the written word ever since she could read and write, and she is looking forward to seeing what The Burr will accomplish this fall. When Emma is not pursuing her passion for words, she can be found making and listening to music or enjoying good pasta. You can follow her @EmmaBAndrus on Twitter to keep up with her journalism-related endeavors.