Editor-in-Chief says goodbye to The Slate


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Troy Okum has served as Editor-in-Chief of The Slate for the past year and a half. Okum became involved with The Slate during his second week of college.

After five years of having the privilege of serving The Slate, it is time to step aside and give that privilege to others who will follow in my footsteps, just as I have followed in those who came before me.

Graduating is a bitter-sweet avalanche of emotions. On the one hand, I am so excited to start a new chapter of my life that I might just change my last name to “Aaakum” so I can be the first person to get my diploma and hit the road. On the other hand, I might just trip a few times as I walk up the aisle in the hope of getting a couple more pages out of this wild, wild chapter.

At this point, life is inevitable. It is like floating down a fast-moving river; you cannot swim against the current and you cannot swim any faster than it either. I would be lying if I said I was not at least a little bit scared (or completely horrified) about what the future will hold. 

Before I let the panic set in, I think back to when I first started college. I can honestly tell you I was completely horrified. But after every semester college life became easier. It was not because I magically found courage inside myself, or because I was getting used to my new life, or even because I found out there are no cover charges at Wibs on Thursdays if you bring your student ID (though that did help).

It was because I searched deep inside of myself to find out what I am passionate about. And once I found it, I let it consume me. I let that flame grow into a bonfire and I worked tirelessly to feed it. That passion is two-fold: to be curious and to learn as much as I can; and to find out how to do something positive with what I learned.

That is where The Slate came in. I got involved with The Slate in my second week of college and it was not long before I realized this was an organization worth believing in. So I invested my passion into it, and it was the best decision of my life.

Years later, I am graduating from Shippensburg University with two degrees, a dump truck worth of awards and a resume that will stop an employer in his or her tracks. I am not trying to brag. In fact, I did not really work for those things at all. 

I just let my passion grow and grow and everything else came as a result.

If you are looking for a deeper meaning in this drab reminiscence of my college career, there it is. Find out what you are passionate about, take a deep breath and then dive in head first. If you are not sure what your passion is, then just keep trying new things until you find it. It is the only piece of advice I can honestly offer anyone.

There is something else that came along with being passionate that I did not expect — something that has far more meaning than any piece of fancy paper could offer. Friendships. 

Without finding my passion, and without working at The Slate, I would never have made the best friendships of my life. Without all of you I would be nowhere, because when life got tough and I could not feed that fire, you were there to help me. This letter is not about me. It is about you. 

Whatever success I find in life, it will be because of all of you and The Slate. 

To the next generation of The Slate staff, I challenge you to find your passion and push it as far as you can.


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