Senior Send-off: Lindsay Pytel

Lindsay Pytel

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“It was incredible.” That was the sentence I knew I’d say after coming back from Nicaragua during spring break of 2017 for a journalism class “Telling Global Stories.” What I didn’t know was how that sentence wasn’t strong enough to describe my experience there and the impact it had on my life.

Let’s back up a bit. When I came to Quinnipiac, something switched for me. In high school I seemed to be involved in just about everything: band, drama, community service organizations, I even joined a sports team. However, when I stepped onto Quinnipiac’s campus, my personality seemed to do a 180. I all of a sudden turned into this shy, minimal risk-taking student. I tried to force myself to join The Chronicle for two years, before it finally stuck my junior year. And even then, I still felt out of place.

When writing articles for The Chronicle or in journalism classes, if I was ever assigned a story to me where I had to interview another person face to face, my heart would beat abnormally fast. That feeling really bothered me. I thought, “How can you be a journalist if you’re afraid to talk to people?”

I chose to go to Nicaragua because it was unlike anything I had done before. It was a risk and I knew it would challenge me. That fear of interviewing, however, followed me there that first day. I finally told myself not to let it keep me down though, because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I raised my hand in a group interview setting and asked a question. I don’t even remember what the question was or the source’s response, but I felt like I had finally gotten over a hurdle. From there on out, I had no reservations with talking to people. On that trip I interviewed over 30 people on my own—some interviews lasting over a minute and others up to 45 minutes. That was my proudest moment.

I came back with a sense of self-confidence that I hadn’t felt before at Quinnipiac and was grateful to be able to share this experience with an amazing group of people. I busted out of my shell and finally let loose.

When writing this “Senior Send-off” I went back and looked at the journal entry I wrote right after I came back from Nicaragua. In the last paragraph it says, “I’m also considering applying to (a Chronicle) E-board position for next year.” This trip along with other members already on E-board, led me to Associate Arts & Life Editor and for that I am forever grateful. It taught me valuable technical skills that I’ll definitely need, like copy editing, AP Style and different Adobe software. But most importantly, it taught me the importance of working as a team and community.

Saying a trip changed my life is so cliché, but it’s also more than accurate. If you’re ever presented with the opportunity to go on a trip like this, do it with no hesitation—it is completely worth it. To all the freshmen out there, I know you probably hear it all the time, but get involved because it will be one of the best things you do during your time at Quinnipiac. And to all those upperclassmen that, like me, are maybe hesitant or want to get involved, but don’t know where or are too scared to—trust me, it’s not too late.