Goodbye, Poly Post: Turning the page to a new chapter

By Matthew Acosta, May 14, 2024

As someone whose biggest worry in life is change, going to college in the fall of 2019 was filled with every change that I possibly could have endured: From a spinal surgery to COVID-19 to losing and eventually finding my path and direction.

Entering university as anything other than a STEM major, the expectations were high with notions like “if you want to make money, math and science is where it’s at” which many of my family members have told me throughout my early years at Cal Poly Pomona.

I always knew that my destination was to be in the news, journalism and the writing industry but finding the path became the hardest part.

Having an amazing support system in my girlfriend Michelle and my older cousin and CPP alumnus Stephen, I was pushed to stop wishing for my dreams and start working toward them. That’s when I found The Poly Post.

Emailing my advisor Jason Turcotte, a professor of communication, and trying to beg my way onto the staff in any way possible led me to get a class code and join the post as a staff writer in the spring of 2022. In that meeting, I just wanted someone to believe in me the same way that I believed in myself and for once I was given that chance.

Having learned journalism in high school, I thought that I was the best and that I could do no wrong but as soon as I entered my first year as a staff writer all the red marks and “burnt pancakes” of stories humbled me and taught me I still had much to learn about this craft.

My first semester as a writer I was fortunate to find myself covering the new California State University chancellor, writing reviews of some movies and covering meetings I would have previously thought would have been boring.

Throughout this whole time, I still received questions of “What’s next?” from my family and friends because, with the ever moving and evolving news industry, how I would be able to get a job.

The sentiment of “it isn’t about what you have done for me,” it is about “what have you done for me lately,” a saying that my older cousin instilled in me from an early age, and I prided myself on while working on one story after the other.

I kept putting my head down and working, trying to soak in as much as I could during my classes but deep down knowing that my platform with The Poly Post had to be the place that I put all my lessons together and showcased who I was as a writer.

After trying to explore all the different sections of The Poly Post I was honored and blessed to receive an offer to be the news and managing editor, but once again I nearly let my own cockiness ruin this opportunity, questioning “Why wasn’t I offered the full year?”

I look back and realize I wasn’t ready.

There are many times that we sit in our college classrooms or dinner with our families thinking we have to know everything, but the point of college is to learn and that’s what waiting a semester to be an editor did for me.

In the fall of 2023, I had the chance to work on a series of stories uncovering the wrongdoings and mishandling of the CPP administration and university.

The experience was great but working on these high-level stories as a college student leaves a fear of repercussions yet also prepared me for the future.

Being put in real-life situations that I may face in the future has helped me throughout this process. In my completely biased opinion, the CPP Communication Department is the best in supporting its students throughout the entire university. That isn’t a knock on any other department but a statement of endearment for a department that has always kept the doors open to talk about academics, employment post-university and sometimes venting about personal struggles.

After working on such an amazing series of stories with such a trailblazing group of journalists around me, I found myself the only returning section editor for the 2023-2024 academic year, with the weight of the world on my shoulders to try and recreate the success that we had a year prior.

This sentiment was something that weighed on me for a couple of weeks until I realized this was a new year and a new staff with so many different personalities and talents.

I wanted to lead the newsroom as editor in chief my way and do things that I felt would improve the newsroom and help as many writers as possible.

This year we continued to uncover more wrongdoings and reported administrative firings, but it also came with beginning to rebuild the newsroom back to what I heard it was before the pandemic.

When I started at CPP as a freshman I was sitting in a random corner of the Bronco Student Center eating my lunch and watching Netflix, this year I opened the newsroom to all staff writers and communication students to try and build collaboration and a sense of home on campus.

In reminiscence of my college experience, I was always looking for a sense of home and belonging. I wanted to be great at writing but I didn’t know that with honing my craft I got to grow close to all of my fellow editors and make friends I hope to have in all my future life milestones.

The 2023-2024 editorial staff quickly became my brothers and sisters enjoying all the conferences and late nights in the newsroom working on stories or just venting about our classes and struggles.

The Poly Post became more than just an avenue for me to find my path, but it became one of the most important things in my life. However, now it is time for me to let go and give the reigns over. I am so excited about what is next but selfishly I wish I could stick around longer.

The lessons learned and mentorship I have given and received gave me the college experience that I wanted and yearned for but more than anything I received a family and a home.

From walking with a limp due to my spine and the world shutting down my first semester to going out to dinner and hikes with my editorial staff turned best friends paved a twisted and turbulent path, but I wish I could relive it one more time to relish all the moments I had.

Thank you, and goodbye for now.

Feature image courtesy of Lauren Wong

Verified by MonsterInsights