Yandoli: Graduating columnist reflects on time at Syracuse University, Daily Orange
I’m not good at saying goodbye. In fact, I’m terrible at it, but all good things come to an end and today I have to say goodbye to The Daily Orange.
A lot has happened since my words started to grace the pages of the Opinion section: George W. Bush — yeah, I’m that old — left the White House, I fell out, and in, and out of love again, and Twitter became so popular that I need to include it in my column’s signoff.
When I was 18, I thought I knew everything about everything. In reality, I had a lot to learn about writing, politics, love, friendship and what it really means to bleed Orange. I’m still in the process of figuring out all of the above, but luckily for me I’ve been able to grow and develop in the inches of this column.
The learning never stops. I recently discovered a new Facebook page, “Humans of Syracuse University,” filled with photographs of students and members of the SU community following in the footsteps of the popular photo blog “Humans of New York,” started by Brandon Stanton.
Stanton told the Huffington Post in a 2012 interview, “My photographs weren’t interesting because of the people. They were interesting because of the interactions that I was having with those people.”
I’m no photographer, but I can’t help but relate to Stanton’s thoughts on human interaction. Photographs — just like words — allow people to connect to each other and feel something, for better or worse.
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned while writing this column is the importance of human interaction; there’s no point in sparking dialogues in op-ed pages without a willingness to authentically engage with readers.
That’s not to say all interactions are magical bliss — the “humans of Syracuse” don’t always agree with what I have to say. Our differences, however, challenge us to grow and shift as a collective instead of leaving our opinions isolated in our separate minds.
Humans are vastly complicated beings that make up a wide spectrum of ideologies and perspectives, but there’s beauty in these complexities. The power of narratives and words have the potential to bring all of these different human beings together.
If it weren’t for Courtney Martin — mentor extraordinaire — I wouldn’t have had the guts to march my freshman butt from Lawrinson Hall to Ostrom Avenue and apply to be a columnist in the first place.
Lauren Tousignant gave me the opportunity to create the ‘women and gender’ column, my most prized legacy I’m proud to leave behind at SU. Beckie Strum and Meghin Delaney allowed me to continue my column and acted as remarkable editors.
My friends and family have also traveled this journey with me. From the fifth floor of Booth to couches on Sumner Avenue, I’m grateful for the endless support with brainstorming, writing, and sharing my articles.
When I felt like I was only writing this column for my grandparents and great Auntie Ann — who I appreciate more than words can say — I’d receive emails from professors, students and other faculty about how they were inspired by my column or wanted to affect social change because of my opinion.
These interactions have shown me the true power of words and how they can make things happen.
There are a lot of things that make Syracuse feel like home: the delicious chocolate and coffee combination that only Peoples’ Place crafts to perfection, the color orange and the freezing cold winds smacking me in the face all come to mind. But nothing compares to The Daily Orange.
Krystie Yandoli is a senior women’s and gender studies and English and textual studies major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter at @KrystieLYandoli.
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