Some kids dreamed about going to UC Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford or Harvard.
My dream was to go to Fresno State.
And just like that, it’s all over.
I remember the first time I stepped foot on campus at Fresno State. I was 13 and my middle school band was in town to perform at a music festival hosted by the university. It was the furthest I had been away from my hometown of Pittsburg (no H), a suburban community in the East Bay.
The moment I stepped off the bus and walked around campus, everything just felt right about being in the Valley. I knew this was the place I wanted to be, and watching the Fresno State football team solidified that for me.
In the Bay Area, there are plenty of college football teams – Stanford, Cal and San José State – but none of them had what Fresno State has: the Red Wave.
As the duo of Derek Carr and Davante Adams balled out on my TV screen, the support of those rowdy fans inside Bulldog Stadium made me realize that the community rallies behind Fresno State.
And that’s exactly the environment I wanted to be around.
Like many other people in my graduating class, my college experience was unique. I transferred from Los Medanos College (#JuCoProduct) to Fresno State in the Fall of 2020. When it was announced that most classes were going to be done remotely, I still made the move to Fresno with two of my close friends from back home.
In the middle of it all, I struggled to find my footing and felt like I couldn’t find a home.
Little did I know that The Collegian ended up becoming my home. Here is where not only did I develop as a journalist, but grew as a person.
As a sports reporter, it was everything I wanted. I was able to cover the college football team I grew up rooting for and travel to places like Autzen Stadium (shoutout to Tyler Van Dyke and Manuel Hernandez), Allegiant Stadium and the Rose Bowl. I got to cover athletes like Jake Haener and Ronnie Rivers, who I saw grow during their high school days in the Bay.
Those memories are cool, but what I’ll cherish the most is the people I got to work with here, from the reporters, photographers, advertising team and editors.
There was a point in time when I wanted to quit journalism and just settle on what my degree could get me, but I can honestly say that working in a collaborative environment at The Collegian rebirthed my passion and has led me to where I am today.
Thank you to Anthony De Leon for leading the way my first semester during the pandemic and being one of the most real people I know. Thank you to my good friend Marc Anthony (M-A) Lopez for encouraging me to apply for The Collegian and guiding me during my first semester. Thank you to Zaeem Shaikh for pushing me to challenge myself.
Thank you to our advisers: Tim Drachalis for elevating my knowledge in journalism, Kevin Fries for holding down our finances and being willing to listen to all the nonsense that comes out of my mouth, Jan Edwards for leading our advertising team and Rich Marshall for having a presence during our production nights.
To everyone else I’ve worked with, thank you for being part of the product and contributing to the team.
I know The Collegian will be in good hands.
I’m extremely proud to see the growth of Jannah Geraldo, the editor-in-chief of the paper. I’m honored to have worked beside her this past semester and taken on this difficult task. When she gets the opportunity to write on a big platform, I know she’ll ball out.
Ashley Flowers, who is stepping into the managing editor role, has shown her worth by being the best writer, most responsible editor and proving that she can be a leader and take charge of the newsroom. I know her transition will be a smooth one, especially with her passion for the product. I’m more than proud of everything she has achieved and am looking forward to everything she will accomplish in the future.
Leaving The Collegian is bittersweet. I’m sad to depart from the place that has so many great memories, but I’m excited to continue my career at the newspaper that I grew up reading (back then it was the Contra Costa Times) with the Bay Area News Group (East Bay Times/San José Mercury News). I’ve been working here since January and have been able to grow as a writer under the tutelage of Darren Sabedra. I have a lot of passion for BANG and hope to work my way up.
I’ll miss Fresno State, I’ll miss the Valley and I’ll miss The Collegian. Thank you for playing a role in the pursuit of my dream.
At the end of the day, I’m everything I said I’d be.
When I was 13 years old, I told myself I would attend Fresno State. I did that. I told myself that I would one day become sports editor at The Collegian. I did that and became managing editor too. I told myself I would one day work at the Bay Area News Group. And guess what?
I did that.