Note from former sports editor Lauren Whelan ’18

It was early September at 1:27 a.m. when the Message Center email popped into my inbox. As any student here knows, the Message Center emails, which serve as a campus-wide update/bulletin board are typically a signal that you should probably—definitely—be sleeping. As an over-eager first year, however, these emails still intrigued me. One of the bullet points caught my eye: “The Bucknellian: Sports Section Assistant Editor position open.” 

That message center email was one of the best things that happened to me that year. Getting involved with The Bucknellian right off that bat changed my experience on campus. Below is my attempt to summarize the top three lessons The Bucknellian has given me:  

Jay Wright

I was a Villanova basketball fan before coming to campus. Growing up with two parents who are Villanova alumni, I was well-versed in college basketball, specifically the Villanova program. This also meant that I was acutely aware of the fact that one of my most idolized sports figures, Villanova’s head coach Jay Wright, was a Bison alum. During my tenure on staff, Wright’s team won the National Championships twice. Safe to say, he was a campus legend. Over the course of my four years at Bucknell, I wrote various stories about  Wright and even had the opportunity to interview him for a sports feature.  

As my fascination with Wright, his experience playing for the Bison, and his current college basketball success grew, I had multiple opportunities to study and question the magnitude of his success. What was it, exactly, that propelled him to a level of coaching intelligence and success so beyond all the others?

What I learned from my interview with Wright was this: It is always better to be the best team, than to simply be the best player. Wright’s focus on attitude and team culture was inspiring. Similarly, I realized The Bucknellian’s entire production mirrored Wright’s foolproof strategy. Like Wright’s basketball squad, each issue we published was not carried by one specific editorial board member, rather, it required a team effort.

Chicken parm

From my first year, I threw myself into my work with The Bucknellian. I moved from assistant editor to section editor and started to take more interest in what the paper was producing beyond the sports section. The more invested I became, the more I loved my experience. My Wednesday routine became Bucknellian-centric.

I will always remember a short conversation I had with my friends in the fall of my senior year. It was a rare Wednesday night that The Bucknellian had off. With my night eerily free, I went along with my friends to grab dinner at the Bison, and small talk surrounding what we wanted to eat ensued. Through this conversation I learned of “Chicken Parm Wednesdays.” My friends were shocked when I explained that I had never heard of this before. “You’re a senior,” they told me, “you don’t know about Chicken Parm Wednesdays?”

I realized how invested I had become in The Bucknellian. One simple conversation about chicken parmesan proved to me the value of my experience. By fully investing myself in my work with The Bucknellian and concentrating on what I was a part of, I developed a deeper passion for what I was doing.

The Orange and the Blue

As I reflect on my experience with The Bucknellian, one last lesson comes to mind: take pride in what you do.

Four years of having a byline taught me so many things; anything published had my name on it, and it was important for me to not only give my best on every piece, but to go beyond that. Everything we published had to be something we were proud of. Like the athletes I interviewed, who constantly spoke about taking pride in representing “the Orange and Blue,” I was reminded and inspired to take this pride in my own work. This practice is something that I know will make a difference in anything I do, pushing and challenging me along the way.

The Bucknellian has given me a lot of things. It has given me new friends, new stories, a new appreciation for media, and a new love of cookies from the cafeteria. Most importantly, however, it has taught me to think like Jay Wright, not to fear missing out on chicken parm, and to always be proud of the Orange and Blue. Congratulations to the Class of 2018, and a sincere thank you to everyone on The Bucknellian!

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