An open mind will open doors

Nicole McIsaac, Former Managing Editor

Four years, 48 months, 1,640 days or 126,230,400 seconds.

That’s how long I have been a member of the Quinnipiac Chronicle. As graduation nears and I reflect upon how my time in the organization has impacted me, I am left with a simple phrase to describe my experience: Be open-minded.

But in order for that meaning to come to fruition, let’s rewind a bit.

In 2019, I came into Quinnipiac University with the sole mindset of being a broadcast journalist. I didn’t want anything that didn’t have to do with teleprompters, cameras and microphones.

Ironic, right?

I started to get involved in student media with the campus television station, but was nudged to try more. It wasn’t until my School of Communications peer mentor, former News Editor Emily DiSalvo, encouraged me to show up to Quinnipiac’s School of Business building at 9:15 on a random Tuesday.

From there, I hit the ground running and decided to never look back.

I remember my first couple of stories that I published with the Chronicle, specifically features on Susan Scoopo, administrative assistant to the School of Communications, and Daryl Richard, former vice president of marketing and communications. I didn’t know what I was doing — nervous wouldn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling.

But I picked up my notepad and pen and followed in the footsteps of the other editors before me — such as former Managing Editors Emily Flamme and Jessica Simms.

Diving into news stories every week, I slowly began to crawl — or maybe sprint — my way up the ladder. From copy editor, associate news editor, news editor and now former managing editor, it is safe to say that this organization quickly became my home since the start of my college journey.

Through every edit and weekly coffee and critiques meeting (that never seemed to have any coffee), I learned something more about myself — I learned that there was a bigger world of journalism that I hadn’t even skimmed the surface of. There were so many skills that I didn’t even have exposure to yet.

From there, I dipped my toes outside of my strictly-profound love for news and began writing across all sections of the paper. Though a lot different than what I was used to, this allowed me to work with more people and pick up on different writing skills than I was previously exposed to.

Then, I picked up a camera to shoot photos (yes, even for sports), worked on scripts for our podcasts, ran news workshops for news writing, helped launch a broadcast-style Instagram Reel and mastered my editing skills for other individuals’ stories. Basically, the AP Stylebook became my essential go-to.

However, I knew I still was missing something.

With all of these versatile and diverse resume skills, there was one more puzzle piece that I wasn’t able to locate until last spring: my true passion for audience engagement and digital- geared work.

Using all of the skills that I learned throughout my time at the Chronicle and in courses thus far, I took a chance and became the audience engagement intern at the Connecticut Mirror in Hartford last spring.

You know when people say things happen for a reason? This happened for a reason.

Fast forward a year later and now wrapping up my time there, I officially have the “audience bug.” Through this type of work, I am able to take all the skills I previously mentioned and combine them — while still working in that newsroom and journalism atmosphere. While in my role as managing editor, I worked hard to ensure that I was bringing that newly-learned audience knowledge and spreading it to others within the Chronicle.

Without those experiences and without that leap, I wouldn’t have found that piece to complete the puzzle.

But if you’d asked me even two years ago what search engine optimization was, I would tell you to go fish.

Although I worked hard to get to where I am today, it wouldn’t have happened if I never went to that Chronicle meeting all those years ago. I wouldn’t be the journalist and communication professional I am today, simply, without the Chronicle.

And don’t get me wrong, I have had my fair share of times throughout these past four years where I felt as if I didn’t want to do it anymore. From restless nights as news editor to arguing over what words to run in a headline — it was all worth it. I wouldn’t change the path or challenges for anything.

As I head into the professional world while finishing up my graduate degree in public relations on the social media track next year, I will miss the Chronicle dearly — but know I have been prepared for my next journey.

So for all the students reading this with more semesters to go, be more open-minded toward your professional career. You never know what that one “missed opportunity” will bring or what future doors will open for you. But most of all, you don’t know where the wind will blow you or where you are meant to wind up.

To the Chronicle, my editorial board, previous editors and all of the professors along the way, thank you for pushing me to grow in ways I didn’t think were possible. Words can’t describe how grateful I am for crossing paths with you.

Continue to be open-minded toward trying new things in your professional career, and no matter what — never look back.