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Senior Column: Tough times will pass, and good memories will last

Former Scout Editor in chief Tony Xu is a senior advertising major. Photo via Tony Xu.

Just about four years ago, I dragged two large-sized luggage bags and a backpack and arrived at Peoria airport after a 24-hour delay in China. Little did I know that I was about to encounter many amazing opportunities and meet so many fantastic friends and mentors at Bradley.  

 As an international student, moving to Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, seems out of expectation to many people, and even to me. I never heard of Bradley until the beginning of my senior year in high school. Given that English is my second language, getting involved with The Scout was very unexpected, let alone becoming the editor-in-chief of the publication (thanks to Maddie Gehling for her faith in me).

 When I joined The Scout four years ago as the graphics editor, I had little-to-no experience in graphic design. What was originally an unexpected opportunity has led me to the discovery of my love for arts and design. Eventually, it helped me to pick up a minor in graphic design. 

When I dipped my toes in writing, The Scout gave me the opportunity to write about some of the most memorable people and situations, report on some of the gravest situations and learn a lot..

 None of these were included in my “original plan” when I first arrived at the Hilltop.

 It’s obvious to say life is always full of the unexpected, as we are going through a global pandemic. But when these unexpected situations shut some of the doors, just look for the windows that may be opening up.

 The quarantine makes us appreciate the normalcy that we had before. It makes us appreciate the people around us, the family and friends that maybe we took for granted before. As I am reflecting on my time at Bradley, none of my great experiences would be possible without the support of these amazing friends and mentors.

 To all my Scouters, you all will have a special place in my heart forever. The Scout is my first job, and I have learned so much from each one of you. As we faced many challenging situations together, you have taught me to be a better journalist, a better teammate, a better leader and a better friend. Just know that I am incredibly honored to call all of you my good friends.  

 My Thursday nights will never feel the same without all the stress and sitting in the staircase, trying to write a story on Thursday or editing. But nonetheless, please remember to close the pen caps after you are done editing.

 I wish I could list all the names from the past four years. I really want to say thank you to Lisa Stemmons, Tori Moses, Maddie and Sammy Dellaria for guiding me when I first joined The Scout. I want to thank both Cole Bredahl and Anthony Landahl for being the fantastic managing editors they are. Both have supported me through some tough times and challenged me with the best counter-arguments in our decision-making processes.

 To all the contributors, reporters, photographers and editors who are documenting Bradley’s history with their precise and beautiful words or images. To all the section editors – Haley Johnson, Ronan Khalsa, Jade Sewell and all the previous editors – who have all managed a considerable portion of the paper with a great level of professionalism. To all the designers for using their artistic talents and giving vivid lives to all the articles. To the content manager and the ad sales department who keep the paper running each week. To our faculty adviser, Chris Kaergard, for being the steady hand that guides us to move forward.

Along this four-year journey, I have met so many great mentors who taught me many invaluable lessons that are beyond just academics.

Thanks to Grace Wang and Rachelle Pavelko for taking me under their wings for research and for bringing me to a top conference to present. Thanks to Cory Barker for guiding me in the culture study readings, mentoring me out of the goodness of his heart. Thanks to Sara Netzley, Vlad Niculescu, Sarah Glover, Kim Michell and so many other professors for their great mentorship. Thank you to all the people I have had the pleasure to work for or with, including Nathan Thomas, Cory Craig, Renee Charles and Jon Neidy.

Four years pass by too fast. By the end of it, it’s the people that matter. These, among many others, gave me the support I most needed and celebrated with me when I succeeded.

Tough times will pass, and good memories will last. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey of mine, and I’m sure that we will reunite again very soon.

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