The Pursuit of Happiness

I am a college journalist, and I’m pretty damn happy about it.

I am poor. My friends make more money than me. My girlfriend has a full-time job in Cleveland, which happens to be my favorite city. I spend many nights alone watching the Cleveland Indians and playing MLB 09 The Show beginning at midnight. I am a college journalist who is in love with a girl that I see an average of once every two weeks. And yet, many times I couldn’t be happier.

Many college journalists may think it’s a hassle and time consuming. The money isn’t great. All of this is true, but I couldn’t be happier with my career thus far.

I am entering my third year as an editor for The Jambar and my second go-around as the sports editor. I was the multimedia editor last year but felt like the sports guy. Steve Wilaj is a gifted writer and a good friend, but I tried to take it up a notch.

Many Youngstown natives may not care about Youngstown State sports as much as I do. Let’s face the facts; YSU is a Division I program in every sport. It was supposed to be a special year for the football program. The Penguins were once ranked as the third best team in the country in their division before failing to even reach the playoffs.

The men’s basketball team made its first postseason tournament since becoming a Division I school. And the women’s team, I couldn’t be more privileged to cover that team. Former coach Bob Boldon is a gentleman, and former forward Brandi Brown is a sweetheart.

Between these three teams and the efforts from Ron Strollo, I got to travel 13 times to watch the Penguins in action, which has to be a record for a Jambar reporter to do. I don’t know how I did it with our budget.

It started with the football team defeating the University of Pittsburgh in the season opener as Jordan Uhl, Dustin Livesay, Corey Bartek and Wilaj accompanied me. It was the first time YSU defeated a team from the BCS. It was truly a magical moment.

I know many people that were at the game and watched it from the stands. Many others watched it from home and later celebrated at MVR. I was on the field, running back and forth to film every second, and through the gusts of rain that poured in the first half. From that moment on, I knew I had to attend every road game possible.

That was the only time Uhl and Bartek joined my quest. Wilaj joined me again with the women’s opener at Pitt and creating another magical moment as well with the humiliating loss at North Dakota. But the other times it was Livesay and I.

For those who don’t know the best photographer I know, Livesay is a great person. He is kind-hearted and will do anything for you. I am proud to say he is one of my best friends.

Livesay and I work with The Jambar and The Vindicator at the same time. He would take photos for both companies while I filmed for The Jambar and wrote for The Vindy. We’ve been through many losses and season-ending games, but it’s the trips that make the experiences worthwhile.

Livesay and I drove to Valparaiso, West Virginia, Cleveland twice, Duquesne three straight days and Toledo. My favorite memory is the plane ride to and from Wisconsin.

When it seemed almost impossible we would go, Strollo stepped in and made sure we would experience the moments with the team. I’m not going to get into what the logistics were, but I’ll just say that we got a hell of a deal. Without Strollo, this trip and North Dakota would not have been possible.

All in all, the Penguins were 3-10 when I traveled. But who else can say they traveled as much as I did and had an awesome time doing it? The only one I can think of is Livesay.

Being a college journalist is a hassle. You’re job is 24 hours, seven days a week. You have to attend classes and pass. You have to take the extra step in creating a future after you graduate. It takes a lot of time and patience. It takes a lot out of you.

But you get rewarded in the end.

I got the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a real journalist. I got a chance to travel to many different cities that most don’t get the opportunity to do. I got a best friend out of it that I only met since I began at The Jambar. I got to build my resume with numerous clips. I created videos that I know will help me.

Yes, my best friends make more money than me and are happy. I get to experience their happiness almost every day, and I am grateful for that.

My girlfriend, Kimber Haug, is living her dream in Cleveland, graduated from YSU last year and is moving on with her life. I will marry her one day.

Andrew Skrinyer graduated this past spring. He works full time and has a supporting girlfriend that he gets to see every day. He will be the best man at my wedding.

Cameron Bodrick works full time at Get Go and will graduate in the fall. He will be the other half of my best man at my wedding.

Everyone I know is living a good, happy life. But when they are at a game and watch magical moments happen right before their eyes, I’ll be the one on the field or court living the dream, a dream of sports that I’ve had since I was born.

I am a college journalist, and I’m pretty damn happy about it.

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