The Daily Gamecock

Letter from the Editor: Parents Weekend 2017

Style tips are scrawled in dry erase marker all over the window in front of me, and pages from our previous print issues cover the wall behind me. A red armchair sits in the corner, the same one that’s been there since I first arrived. Sometimes chatter and laughter drifts in from the newsroom on the other side of the glass, and sometimes it's just me and loud music.

A little over three years ago, I arrived on USC’s campus as a journalism student dreaming distantly of becoming editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock. I write to you now as a senior and an English student, from an office with a sign that reads “Gamecock Editor.” At the start of the semester, I wouldn’t have guessed that the title — and everything it entails — would be mine again. Without ever asking for it, I once again get the opportunity to contribute to the story of this university. 

As students, we never know what the university might throw at us, whether it's a newspaper staff or three exams and a paper due in one week. And that's one of the most difficult, startling and beautiful things about college. These four years, or however many you spend here, aren't just about earning a degree. Don't get me wrong; classes are vital and can be some of your most meaningful experiences. I've been in plenty of classes that have challenged me and enjoyed learning from many wonderful professors. But nothing has taught or enriched me quite as much as working at this newspaper. Especially this semester. I'm privileged to serve a brilliant and talented staff — many of whom are likely better at their jobs than I am at mine.

Parents, maybe you don't know what to say when your child calls you from college upset because they're afraid of not being good enough, or elated because they've finally figured out what to major in and it definitely won't change this time. Or when they fail a test or get an internship halfway across the country. Obviously I haven't sent any children off to college, but in my experience with my own parents, it's not their job to fix all my problems. Encourage them and offer advice when they need it, and when they don't, be proud that you raised a kid who's learning to manage life on their own.

College campuses are designed to give students opportunities and obstacles. USC might have given you a research grant or a new hobby or a random roommate who becomes your best friend. Or maybe you got something you wouldn't have asked for. This is what USC has given me: spaces in which I am surrounded by people who are different from and often smarter or more creative or driven or in some way better than me. 

The next two months are my chance to give back. Some of you have only been in college for about two months, whereas others are nearing the end of your careers at USC. Maybe you feel blessed or overwhelmed by opportunity, or scared by a lack of it. From wherever you stand, take whatever chances come your way and run with them.


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