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The Antelope

The Antelope

Gonnella reflects on college career

The Antelope Newspaper

Longtime columnist shares thoughts on UNK experience, writing for Antelope

BY: Elliot Gonnella

Three and a half years of writing does seem to go by fast.

What started out as a one-piece submission of a letter to the editor on any topic of my choice, and the advice of my English 100 lecturer Mrs. Hanson, became a semi-regular occurrence for the rest of my time at UNK. 

As graduation approaches for me and hundreds of others, I cannot help but be reflective about the whole experience. I was the only one in my immediate family to go the traditional four year route right out of high school. I was constantly jibbed about it alongside my major (Middle School Education) by friends and family, mostly in good fun. 

Although the question remains, even as I graduate debt free, has this all been worth it? Did the sleepless nights, the frustrating classes, the adulating at a moment’s notice and the job outlook for some majors serve some reason beyond petty discomfort caused by a cold and uncaring universe? 

Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I do not regret my time here and the decisions I made, both the good and ill. I’m glad I joined a fraternity even with the constant bouts of frustration I would feel from my brothers. I am glad I chose UNK as it gave me room to develop away from a small town atmosphere, but an easy opportunity to go back to visit when I had the time.

The experiences are ones that made me who I am today, and without a doubt I am better for them – even the ones that made me want to stay in bed until noon and stare at the ceiling .

It wasn’t just related to classes. This newspaper was one of those challenging experiences, with the occasional rejection and 11th hour stories, but it turned me into a better writer. It was a great honor that I am thankful I was able to participate in.

Here are a few highlights and thoughts from that career.

Favorite column? It is a toss-up between my analysis of religious fervor where I dusted off some old political cartoons from one of my American History classes and my lighter piece about ranking all of the Star Wars film. Both were pieces that I had a ton of fun writing.

Worst column? None have the distinction of the worst, but I did phone in quite a few columns when the election and early Trump slog was becoming too much for me. 

Idea to be shot down the fastest? During the UNK budget crunch, I wanted to suggest that we get rid of the football program to save the millions we were short.

Most challenging columng to write? The white nationalists’ posters, mainly because it was an opinion piece, and I didn’t want to break the news in a way that would end with my car vandalized or a burning cross outside my suite window.

Column I should have written? I should have focused more on local and state issues, especially around election time.

Funniest moment in the news room? Every meeting. Showing up at 8 a.m. on a Monday and trying to make a story come out of my mouth with out laughing away the first three suggestions. 

Hardest moment in the news room? Coming to a meeting after grieving over the weekend about a death close to home or in the fraternity. I had to do that once every year.

Once again, I want to say a huge thank you to The Antelope for putting up with me and improving my writing skills for the past three years. It has been my greatest honor and a privilege to work with you at such a prestigious university. 

To the readers, I will not close with some sentimental or sappy comment about all the places you will go or the monsters we will vanquish. That is in the future. Look at where you are now, here in this present moment. Yesterday cannot change. Tomorrow, we may all be in the ground. Today is what matters; you need to make a decision on how you are going to spend it. 

The question is… how will you?

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    Pam HansonApr 29, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Elliot, I’m glad it worked out! You started out a strong writer and have just gotten stronger. Thanks for a thoughtful final column!
    Mrs. H