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  • By O'Tia Prioleau

Senior sendoff: O’Tia’s time

I am a General and Organizational Leadership Management major with a minor in Journalism. I’ve been a part of The Chanticleer Newspaper for three and a half years and it is time to depart from this chapter of my life.

When I arrived at Coastal Carolina University, I immediately looked for a writing group to join. Prior to Coastal, my only experience with writing was MLA format; AP is not the easiest writing style to learn, but it had to be done.

I started in fall 2017 writing one article at a time because I was new to AP style, but the more I practiced, the better I became. Spring of 2018 came and I began to assign myself more than one article to compose a week. When I starting writing more articles my confidence increased in my writing. Fall 2018 was when I tackled more serious pieces to compile.

The most memorable article I wrote was titled “Safety Accusations,” which was about human trafficking rumors in the area that surrounded campus. I also covered the Florence Aftermath and reviewed how that affected CCU students. This story was when Coastal Carolina University had to move classes online for three weeks and were expecting no more than a week of isolation from campus.

Spring 2019 was when The Chanticleer Newspaper went to New York for the College Media Convention. This opportunity came to me due to the Florence Aftermath; we weren’t able to print an article during the three weeks we were off campus, so that allowed a non-executive member, like myself, to join the executive staff in the Big Apple. I took it upon myself to ensure I learned from this experience, so I decided to search for live talk show tapings.

I was able to go to the Wendy Williams Show on March 7, 2019 at 7:30 a.m. I don’t know why I listened to Wendy and wore heels to the show. It was a 22 minute walk from the Marriott and after five minutes into the stroll I had to remove my shoes and put them back on when I was closer to the building. The show was pretty good, but it was very crowded as we were pushed down a ramp. I almost fell several times, but the people causing my claustrophobia kept me straight. The waiting room was more comfortable because we got chairs, some of us, and coffee. Weirdly enough, there were people walking around saying, “Ask Wendy!” and I was like, “Where?” It turns out it was a paper for us to write down personal questions about our problems and Wendy or someone had to pick the best ones to be revealed on the show.

The second taping I went to was Strahan and Sara on March 8, 2019 at 8:00 a.m., and this was a group attendance with other students from the different schools that attended the convention. It was amazing. We first were shown Good Morning America with Ginger Zee and then we were taken upstairs for the Strahan and Sara show. I sat in the second row so I was so close to Strahan. New Kids On The Block, Bellamy Young and Ricky Whittle's were there, so it was even better. During the breaks, Strahan and Sara were jamming out with us to music that their DJ was playing. When there was a chance, Strahan went around taking selfies with people; he even took my phone for a big group one which was awesome. I was so blessed to be able to embark on that experience; I learned a lot.

I continued with the paper and wrote many articles since Spring 2019. Everything came to a halt when Spring 2020 arrived. We all remember it like it was yesterday or like it was ages ago. COVID-19 appeared and challenged us in many ways. No one knew exactly what to expect when CCU and other universities had to send their students home in March. The Chanticleer Newspaper never stopped writing. We resumed writing articles and recommenced developing stories until the spring semester came to an end.

The big question was whether or not we were all returning to school. I knew I wanted to return because after all, it was my senior semester. I just wasn’t sure how things would be once scholars arrived back on campus. Coastal Carolina University has done a great job at preparing for students and putting together virtual learning, along with face-to-face learning opportunities, but we all still hold on to the concerned issue of, “When will this Pandemic end?”

Things happen for a reason and we have to embrace that “Things happen for a reason.” This pandemic was not a punishment, it was an opportunity to bring about change in our lives. I just want everyone to know that you still have purpose and it might not seem like things will work out because of where you are in this situation, but you need to realize that you can change this situation into a success story. Stay safe and keep on social distancing.

“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way of life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”- Proverbs 10:17

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