…And We’re Back

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OK, I admit it; I’ve been a horrible, horrible, horrible blogger.

For some reason, I just can’t seem to discipline myself enough to sit down, gather my thoughts and pump out a few hundred words of whatever I’m thinking of or reflecting on at the moment.

Maybe that’s because I rarely have such moments. Right now it’s Sunday night, 11:28 PM to be exact. I’ve just concluded studying for a Monday morning test after getting off a long, busy, eventful, dogged day at The Herald, Rock Hill’s daily newspaper. 

Considering my last post was in December, anyone who may have stumbled upon it probably doesn’t know the awesome, immense blessings I’ve experienced this semester.

So, where to start?

January:

As the new (and my final) semester took off, I found myself writing stories about rapes, sexual assaults and politics. The Johnsonian had awesome coverage during January, when GOP candidates stumped on campus to rally support before the pivotal first-in-the-South primary. We at the paper covered the rallies like hawks. On Jan. 18, Mitt Romney rallied on campus and snubbed three reporters. The next day, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd joined two other political big-wigs (CNN’s Steve Brook and The State’s Steve Brusk) during a spectacular panel event that gave awesome insight into the primary, and Republican Party. Hours before the panel, Todd announced from Winthrop’s own Scholar’s Walk that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was dropping out the race. GO WU! I enjoyed every minute of this political palooza; probably the most fun I’ve had as news editor of the paper.

February:

February was pretty “baller” as the kids say today. Areas near campus were plagued with several violent crimes committed against women, and authorities had no idea who was doing this. Then, on Valentine’s Day, I was hired at my first REAL work world journalism job. On February 24, I started part-time as The Herald’s new crime and public safety reporter. Let me tell you, it’s quite…quite…quite an adventure. But more on that in March.

March:

The semester keeps going and I find myself bitten by the senior-itis bug. It hurts bad. I’m sooooo ready to get out of college, especially after landing a job that I’ll begin full-time two days after graduation. God deserves all the glory and the honor for that. He truly is faithful. As a sophomore, I prayed specifically to “walk off the stage and into my job.” More than that, I prayed to work @ The Herald so I could stay in Rock Hill and continue attending Tabernacle of Praise Church International where Bishop Alfred Jackson is pastor and overseer. GOD’S AMAZING; He answered the prayer specifically. But, even with the immense blessings, I have to slow down and ask God to give me strength to “live” in my blessing. Life as a crime reporter is interesting. Each week I’ve worked, something big has happened. Incidents have ranged from the strangling woman of a woman in Lancaster, the subsequent murder of someone else in Lancaster, the double homicide of two men in Lancaster (notice a trend?). I got to cover rallies showing solidarity with the Trayvon Martin murder. There’s so much more but you’ll just have to read to find out more.

April:

And here we are in April. Weekends have slowed down a bit. I’m even more ready to leave college. The Johnsonian officially ended on April 12 and we won a bunch of awards at the S.C. Press Association Collegiate Meetings & Awards on April 13. God blessed me with a lot of awards and recognition at the Mass Comm Dinner on April 4: Outstanding Senior in Journalism, Top Scholar in Kappa Tau Alpha, The Herald’s Terry Plumb Award for Hard News Writing and a couple of others. At the SCPA, I received Honorable Mention for a Feature Story & Honorable Mention as Collegiate Journalist of the Year. Thank you Lord is all I’ll say. And as I’m writing this post (Apr. 15), I’ve worked on a Sunday for the first time and I’m tired as I don’t know what. I worked on a story about a man who drowned after his fishing boat turned over, throwing himself and his friend in the water. Two strangers dived in and managed to save the friend, but not the other man. I spoke with both “heroes” (they hated me calling them that) and the victim’s mother. It was quite a day.

Now, I’m more than ready to be done with school and I feel more excited about working at The Herald. I’m anxious to learn more about the police beat, get to know all the players involved and really provide insightful, interesting coverage. Join me for the ride!

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One Step Forward, Several Peeks Back

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So here I am at the precipice of it all.

Four classes that have relatively little to do with my major stand in my way of a completed and fulfilled degree–a piece of sheepskin emblazoned with the name ‘Jonathan Nathaniel Harold McFadden.’

Ok, maybe they won’t put all that but you get the point.

As I embark on this journey of “goodbyes,” “farewells,” “see you later’s” and “hello world’s,” I find my emotions body slamming each other with a severity I didn’t expect.

Turns out, I’m going to miss the WU.

No, I won’t tear up over the institution–the buildings–the establishment–or the idea of higher education per se. I’ll miss my connections, my bosses, my friends–my family of WU Eagles.

This Christmas break, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the last three and a half (soon to be four) years I graced the halls of Winthrop.

I’ve grown and matured a lot.

I’ve been frustrated a lot.

I’ve prayed a WHOLE lot.

I’ve developed new octaves of laughter while also gaining a newfound appreciation for personal connection.

I know how to hob-knob and shin-dig (if you can use that as a verb) with the best of ’em.

I like dressing up much more than I did when I was in high school–in fact, I prefer to walk into the grocery store at 6 p.m. looking as if I just completed a hard day’s work at the office (yeah, I’m weird).

I’ve made lifelong friendships.

I’ve lost ‘lifelong’ friendships.

I’ve grown closer to the Lord than I ever thought I would, and I have come to understand the beauty of grace.

And, the list can go on.

On Monday (Jan. 9), I will begin my final semester at Winthrop University. I’ll begin shopping for my cap and gown and exorbitantly priced invitations.

I’ll take time to look at the various locales on campus, and I’ll recollect on my experiences in that science building or in that general use classroom.

I’ll stroll pass professors’ offices and think about advising appointments, override requests and just plain ole’ visits.

I’ll sit–well work–in the student publications office and remember the pizza, the coffee, the soda–ooohh, all the unhealthy carbs and caffeine.

I’ll try my best to avoid Markley’s Food Court (sorry, expectant graduate must be wise with money).

I’ll refrain from fretting about embarking into the real world and think like this, “I’ve been doing it on my own for quite some time now,” then I’ll remember: “Oh man, those loans…”

Yes, here I am at the precipice of it all–ready to take yet another step forward.

Anxiety, excitement and liberation all swelled inside me as I entered my last semester of high school. Four years later, I feel like that same 17-year-old kid from Orangeburg, S.C. And, I’ll tell myself the exact same thing my parents told me then–words so profound, so deep that I thought they could move mountains.

“You’ll do fine.”

Yes, yes I will.

Concept in 60 Final Version

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Metanarrative Complete

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This is just to inform you that my metanarrative can be accessed under the “Class Projects” tab. Alas, we come to a close. Very unfortunate; literally, this was the best and my favorite class this semester. More than that, it’s been one of my most favorite classes in my undergraduate career. Yes, I would definitely take it again if it would add to the completion of my degree next semester!

Life’s A Race: Concept in 60

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A (Late) Response to Holly

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This was very well put together Holly and sort of sent me into this mind spiel about how literature can completely change now with new technology. I suppose that’s what we’ve been talking about so much with presenting hypertexts and works of literature in new, dynamic forms. What if people started reading classical works of literature via slide or multimedia presentations? We may be entering a truly unprecedented era of scholarly dissemination. As the video “This Is Scholarship” illustrates, scholarship is moving into the realm of multimodal technologies. Of course, I don’t think the book will ever die but yes, people now have more options and perhaps they’re not all scary. I liked the video; I liked reading the sonnet while having my eyes titillated by visuals that matched the music and words. It’s cool and creative. At the same time, though, I want a book and I’ll probably always want a book. Still, I’m not closed off to the idea anymore. I’m willing to see some of my favorite pieces of literature translated into multimedia pieces–not as replacements, but maybe as supplements.

Some more remodeling

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To keep all my readers (if there are any other than Dr. Spring) abreast of what I’m doing on the blog, I have decided to craft this post explaining my most recent remodeling of my blog.

I’ve consolidated all our big class assignments (literacy narrative, values and criteria analysis, tech bio, etc.) into one menu item dubbed “Class Projects.” If you hold the cursor over that tab, you will see a drop-down menu of all the projects we’ve completed in class thus far, the most recent being our experiment in web or non-print design. You will be able to click on that page, view my (sorry) long explanation for every decision I made with this website and then click on a link that will take you directly to the site.

Whew! These blogs really are living organisms!

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