Letter from the Editor

Started from the Bottom now I’m in Tears


article

Aubrey Smith,
Online Managing Editor of Design,
Print/Tablet Assistant Design Editor

Play: Don’t Wait by Mapei while reading.

It’s difficult to share glory for any project on which I spend an abundance of time.

I’ve been an editor for Ball Bearings Magazine since I was a freshman. So to say that I spent some time on this magazine is an understatement.

I have been a part of two redesigns, been the eyes of creating a new website and transferred over 200 stories to the new website.

I have had my hands on every medium of Ball Bearings: tablet, print and online. But my heart belongs to the Web.

I remember my first Ball Bearings meeting. I actually missed it. Being the disorganized freshman that I was, I ended up arriving an hour late. Thankfully the online design editor, Karina Lozano was still hanging around.

She was working on a design for an online story.

I should have realized that was about to become my life.

I had no plans of joining the online team. But then she sat down and told me about how rewarding online was. How we’ve won so many first and second place awards from multiple state and national competitions, and how we have more opportunities for designers.

So I joined and became the assistant design editor for online a semester later.

I’m very proud to say I came into this publication that produced original content once a week and am now leaving with a functional site that produces five to 10 pieces a week.

That’s a huge growth, but it would be a shame if I would take all of the pride for myself.

I couldn’t have done it without my leading ladies.

They kept me sane. And most importantly, they pushed me.

Some can and will say that they are really tough critics. At times they’ve made me want to pull out my hair and scream in a pillow.

But I’m a smarter journalist because of them.

That goes for other mentors, like my journalism graphics professor, Jennifer Palilonis.

She challenges me in every design I make for her classes. She makes me question if I am even qualified to call myself a journalist.

I remember one instance when I thought I had designed a beautiful illustration graphic. I spent six hours illustrating a volleyball player. She loved the illustrations, but I received a defeating C- on the assignment as a whole.

Reminding me that just because illustration work can be excellent, inaccurate information can set back a graphic entirely. I am a journalist first. I have to provide correct information before I make it aesthetically pleasing.

It’s because of her and people like her pushing me to never settle for mediocrity that I can call myself a better journalist.

It’s a hard lesson to learn, and it applies to any field of study someone is in. There are projects that take more precedence than others, but it’s inexcusable to turn in half-assed work, no matter the ranking of importance.

Whether it’s a class assignment or for your job, every piece of work you turn in has your name on it. If you’re not satisfied with putting your name on poor-quality work, then you need to do whatever it takes to perfect it.

This also applies to your work ethic. If you aren’t immersing yourself 100 percent in your job, you’re doing yourself and your co-workers a big injustice.

If you allow yourself to fail to turn in assignments on time and make excuses for your mistakes, you will lose your credibility and fail to grow. Realize that every product you turn in represents you and reflects what type of worker you are.

Our generation is plagued by the desire of instant gratification. We are so used to the digital age that sends and delivers messages, opens applications and downloads documents in milliseconds that we think everything will come easy to us.

Any extra work needed to submit a highly developed résumé and cover letter seems ludicrous to us, and that’s a disgrace.

I’ve attended multiple journalism conferences where I’ve heard professionals talk about what they want to see in their new hires. Employers have spoken time and time again about seeking people with a strong work ethic, but they’re seeing a decline in applicants with that quality.

So if you think it’s going to be easy to land a career out of college without ever really applying yourself, you’re foolish.

I’ve seen the highs and the lows of this publication.

I’ve seen stories crash and burn while others receive over 800 views in their first couple of hours.

I’ve had four editor positions and contributed to over 100 stories.

But my biggest mark is proving to my staff that never accepting mediocrity is the most rewarding feeling, and no one can ever take away from you.

A realization I would have never learned without the leaders in my life.

And for that, I thank you.

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