By Hannah Middaugh
For what felt like hours, I sat in front of my computer in my little home office, surrounded by clutter from months of not cleaning off the desk, trying to think of ways to begin this. Do I start by introducing myself? Do I start with a funny joke or hook to get people’s attention? I haven’t sat down and written a little editorial in, well, nearly a year. And to be honest, I just have not had a lot of time to sit down and write, which is depressing for someone who has dedicated their life to writing.
For those who have no idea who I am, my name is Hannah Middaugh. I am the former Editor-In-Chief for The Wilson Billboard. I graduated in 2021, so it hasn’t been that long. I went to Wilson for Writing and Journalism with double minors in English and Communications. I dedicated every spare moment at Wilson to working on The Billboard. Even the stressful moments were comforting and brought me a lot of peace in my anxiety-ridden life.
After leaving Wilson, my boyfriend and I moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in June 2021. I have been keeping busy. I have started my own freelance business (check out hannahmiddaughphotos.wordpress.com for more information) and have also started getting into freelancing for an online magazine called Haunted Publications. Not only that, but I have been tasked with designing, managing, and creating social media accounts and ads for a staffing agency. I am also working a part-time retail job, which, considering where I live, is never dull or quiet.
When I think about the last four years, it makes me smile. Late nights were spent working on The Billboard or writing 25-page marketing and advertising papers (Thank you, Dr. Long). There were many animals to pet and love, concerts with friends, and never enough downtime to read for fun. I got to meet so many new people and have many new experiences. I would not change a second of it.
Wilson taught me a lot about myself. I never thought of myself as a leader, but after taking over The Billboard my sophomore year, I quickly became more and more involved with things on campus. I worked at the campus store, was an orientation and Phoenix Leader. I was even starting to become a tour guide before Covid-19 took us all away from campus. I enjoyed every minute of everything I got involved with. Wilson helped bring me out of my shell, and I am forever grateful for that.
Most of my memories of campus take up residence in the Student Media Center, and considering I spent most of my time there, that makes sense. Not only did I work on the newspaper, but I also spent time studying, hanging out with friends in a quiet space, and coming up with plans on improving the room and the paper. Working on the newspaper and being in that room is what I miss most about campus, but I will never forget all the crazy adventures and moments, the smiling faces, the animals, and the moments when I knew I was on the right track for doing what I love.
Working on The Billboard gave me opportunities I never thought I would have. I photographed concerts, interviewed semi-famous people, and even got to go on my first airplane and train ride. Traveling was definitely my favorite part of The Billboard, but the experiences and memories I made during those trips mean so much more. I learned a lot about writing and journalism on those trips (and just by working on the paper). Some people may see the trips as a waste, but to those of us who went to the conventions, it was a huge learning experience. We got to make connections with people in the profession. We learned how to get hired, how to score internships, and how to do what we all love. It is so different to hear from people currently in the profession than hearing about it in a classroom.
I had a different editorial in mind when I started this. Still, much like my editorials over the years, my ideas get flipped and turned into something else entirely, so I suppose things have not necessarily changed in that aspect. I think my point is, make the most of your time at Wilson because it will be over before you know it. Do things out of your comfort zone because you just might find the thing that makes your time at Wilson even better.
Join The Billboard! It might seem like something you are not interested in, but you can tell stories about what you want and publish your favorite photos. You may be a vet tech student drowning in Biology or Chemistry homework, but you could use The Billboard as a way to show your love of animals. Are you an exercise science major? Write about something you are passionate about in that field! English or Communication major? The Billboard is right up your alley. The Billboard may seem like something you are not interested in, but with effort and hard work put into it, there is no telling just how much fun you can have with it.