Richards: Is this really goodbye?

Jason Richards, Staff Columnist

So. This is it. But is it, really?

Yeah, actually it is. I just had to throw in a question because my tag for the last four years at The Observer has actually been “Asking the Real Questions.” Somehow, I feel I haven’t really asked enough questions in my pieces but alas, here we are, asking a question one last time.

Yes, my last question for my time at The Observer: Is this really goodbye?

Besides the fact that this question is super cliché, it doesn’t seem like it’s goodbye. My pieces ranged from bringing campus issues to lightheartedly aiming for an enjoyable read. Those pieces have stuck with me, and in some cases, have initiated change in the campus community. 

I took journalism in my last year of high school, earning a head editor position before I really even had a complete portfolio of articles. When I arrived at Case Western Reserve University, I joined The Observer my first month as an opinion columnist, and I’ve stayed loyal to that position ever since.

Though there is no dedicated journalism program here at CWRU, there are wonderful classes with wonderful professors that can take your enthusiasm for writing to another level. I wish I could take them all, but those that I took were some of my most memorable experiences. In Denise Polverine’s Sports Journalism class, we talked to some talented individuals in the realm of sports journalism and news, and were able to take a trip to the local WKYC news station to experience a real-world journalistic environment. In Professor Jim Sheeler’s Media Journalism class, though interrupted by COVID-19, we took a look at the age of digital journalism that arose within the last two decades, and got to create a video feature story that was as enjoyable to learn techniques for as it was to make.

As a person who asks a lot of questions in my pieces, I got a decent amount of responses. In my first year, I wrote a piece about the old, unintuitive Student Information System (SIS). I was able to set up a meeting to test out the new SIS software that was rolling out to the campus community the summer after. I wrote a piece on the unreliability of the campus printing service, Wēpa, in my second year, and got a response back asking for some input on new Wēpa print station locations and to provide insight into dealing with printer unreliability. 

In another piece last year, I wrote about how club sports don’t count toward physical education requirements, and ended up meeting with PE administrators about alternatives to completing the dreaded PE requirement. 

Among the many pieces I’ve written, these were the most rewarding.

But, it doesn’t feel like my work is done, yet. There is so much to advocate for on campus, especially in this time of recovery for our country.

My journey conquering campus dilemmas seems far from over, but as I wrap up my final article, a huge thank you is in order for the people involved in my pieces throughout the years. To the readers, of course, as well as the rotating staff of editors I’ve outlived as a writer here, those who have listened and asked for input on the campus struggles I’ve brought to light and the two journalism professors, Jim Sheeler and Denise Polverine, for ever-improving my journalism abilities in the background: thank you. 

You have all made reading and writing an enjoyable and rewarding experience that I hope to hold on to for the rest of my life.