Reflecting and reminiscing: Austin Ferguson
Life has changed for a lot of people in the last year – let alone the last four – for many graduating from college as I am.
As the days wind down toward commencement and I reflect on my undergraduate career, specifically with The Rider News, I see a connecting thread in my three years with this publication: adjustment.
Starting as a features and entertainment editor, I moved through many positions, including copy editor, circulation manager, sports editor and my most recent post as managing editor. The aspect of all these positions that I appreciated the most throughout the past three years was finding my passion in a place I did not expect.
Despite the love and appreciation I now have for The Rider News, I saw my first position with it as a paycheck. In all honesty, I wasn’t interested in journalism. I wasn’t the strongest writer in high school, and I wanted to be a broadcaster, on-screen, doing play-by-play for Major League Baseball games.
But as time went on with The Rider News, I covered and learned about the different life experiences that people within the Rider community have. Over time, with the guidance of an array of coworkers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I learned how to capture those experiences, feelings and sentiments through writing and ultimately fell in love with it.
Though journalism was not a career path I had envisioned myself pursuing, I’m glad I took a chance on something different and opened myself to new possibilities. Through that, I’ve found a passion for life.
On top of that, in the last year alone, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of people at a crossroads. Are they happy with where their lives are? Through all the negative aspects of being quarantined and away from loved ones, the pandemic has given people the pause to reflect on their life trajectory and whether it is where they want to go.
In what has been a pivotal moment in the personal lives of many people, especially those my age that are about to embark on the world post-college graduation, it is important to take a pause and ask yourself: What, in simplest terms, is your definition of a good life?
In my eyes, I look to my earlier passion of broadcasting for the answer. The late, great former college basketball coach and analyst Jim Valvano said, “To me, there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think – spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
Though my thoughts may not always move me to tears, I concentrate and reflect on these three things every day. No matter how grim the times may seem, especially in today’s environment, I find something to enjoy about life, I find something to think about and I find something that moves my emotions.
As I and many others move to the next chapter of our lives, wherever that may be or whatever it is we may be doing, I don’t believe it would hurt to heed Valvano’s advice. Live each day, no matter where you are in life, ready to laugh, ready to learn and ready to love. You may not reach all three of those things each day, and as grueling as life may have been in the past year, you must allow the prospect of living a full day tomorrow to keep you going.
Senior sports media major