It dawned on me recently that very soon, my Duke ID will not grant me access into The Chronicle office anymore. Instead of the scanner light flashing green, it will flicker to red, a gentle reminder that my time at The Chronicle, and in college, is over.
There are many pieces of the last four years that I am going to miss — eating lunch with friends on the Bryan Center Plaza, playing intramural sports, singing (out-of-tune) karaoke on Thursday nights. And of course, The Chronicle.
I am reminded of my Chronicle beginning every morning. Two years ago, my parents gave me a framed copy of the first article I ever wrote: A volleyball story in which Duke beat UNC Greensboro. That framed clip has been on display in my room since.
I knew nothing about journalism in the days leading up to that article. I had to refer to our training packet repeatedly while I wrote and the only background I had that remotely prepared me was the fact that I loved sports and writing. Luckily for me, The Chronicle gave me my first lessons in how to do journalism and four years later, I am so thankful for that.
I originally had no plans to make The Chronicle anything more than an extracurricular I devoted a couple hours to each week. But writing and reporting on that volleyball game showed me how incredible journalism is. I had the privilege to write stories to inform our readers of what was happening in Duke athletics. From then on, I was hooked.
Duke athletics has changed so much since the day I wrote that volleyball article. In the last four years, Coach K retired, Nina King was hired and the NIL era began in college athletics. Kara Lawson took over the women’s basketball program, women’s soccer had one of its best seasons ever and football entered a new era. Thanks to The Chronicle, I got a front-row seat, many times literally, to witness and document all of this and more.
The Chronicle made me realize how important it is to have people there to write and report on the world, and even more so, made me realize that I wanted to be one of those people. As journalism morphed into something I was spending countless hours doing each week, I realized that it was the field for me. Now, I am weeks away from graduating college and not just set on going into journalism, but excited at the thought of a career continuing to do the kind of work that The Chronicle exposed me to.
As much as I love journalism itself, my Chronicle career would not have been the same without some of the older members making me feel so welcome in the office. Derek, I still remember our first editing session together and that has always served as a blueprint for me in how to treat others. Evan, you showed me nothing but kindness during the sports editor training, even when I flung thousands of questions at you. I’m so fortunate to call you both friends now.
To my fellow seniors, it has been such a joy watching all of us grow and push each other to become better journalists over the last few years. I’ve learned so much from working alongside you. And Max, we’ve made memories covering sporting events together that I don’t think our 5-year-old selves ever could have dreamed of. It’s been a pleasure working with you and I will miss it dearly.
Before I finished writing this column, I wanted to walk up The Chronicle steps another time. I opened the door to the sound of laughter and made my way to the sports hall like I had so many times before.
This time was different though. Instead of looking forward to what was next in my Chronicle future, all I had was the past to look back on.
I thought about the time Coach K roasted me in a postgame press conference, the late nights we spent working in the sports hall and all the Friday sports meetings that led to lasting relationships.
It feels bizarre to be a part of the outgoing Chronicle class, something that in my mind was always so far off in the distant future. It still seems like just last week, I stumbled upon The Chronicle table at the club fair. I am going to miss sitting in the blue office chairs and writing about sports and I am going to miss the friends I made while doing so.
Most of all, I’m going to miss seeing that office scanner flash green, and the thought of all that could come next after I walk through The Chronicle office door.
Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior who served as sports editor of Vol. 117. He would like to tell Leah Boyd that she was an incredible editor-in-chief during Vol. 117 and that he enjoyed all the work they did together.
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Jake Piazza is a Trinity senior and was sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.