Editor-in-Chief and senior journalism major Jamie Roebuck-Joseph writes her final article for ZU News

Listen to “Time of Your Life” by Green Day while reading this.

Four years ago a shy, 18-year-old girl, barely reaching 5’2 with springy curls falling down her back, strolled onto the APU campus with a curious mind. She packed her entire life in two suitcases, along with cubbies and bags filled with school supplies from the “College” section at Walmart. Homemade room decor overflowed in cardboard boxes labeled “DORM.” She’d been anticipating college with her best friend the entire summer, which consisted of high school graduation celebrations and parting ways with childhood friends.

Welcome Weekend at Azusa Pacific kicked off with move-in, orientation, activities, a family prayer and a candlelight induction. Thousands of undergrads blew out their candles with graduation in another four years a distant thought.

Here I am now, in awe that in two weeks I’ll be walking across the Felix Event Center stage  to receive my degree in journalism. That curly-headed, timid girl I described has morphed into a 22-year-old, confident woman entering the “real world” (Oh, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, I was describing myself in the third person to be creative).

I’m honored to be a part of APU’s student media since my freshman year. I started out as a guest writer for the newspaper, which was then known as The Clause. I became a regular staff writer, then the lifestyle editor and finally, after a semester interning in New York City, I was asked to be the editor-in-chief. If it were not for the amazing professors and colleagues in our tight-knit department, I would not be the writer I am today––and there’s still a long road ahead in this complex industry. So, I want to do a few thank you’s.

Regina Ender, APU alumna and former editor-in-chief, for her guidance and mentorship in making me a downright better writer since my first article. She single-handedly tore up my drafts with edits and graciously forced the best out of me.

I wouldn’t be a part of student media leadership if it weren’t for Assistant Professor of Journalism and Lead Advisor of Integrated Student Media Kent Walls. He’s believed in me since day one and always held me to high leadership standards, which made me grow in times I felt stagnant. The rebrand to ZU Media wouldn’t have been possible without him.

Thank you to Associate Professor Jessica Sherer who has been the backbone of student media in times of turmoil. She’s also a writing wiz with unmatched editing skills.

To my amazing staff, both current and graduated, this job has fulfilled me because of the diverse skill sets you’ve all brought. Your passion and dedication to journalism drives me to keep investigating. Alumna Cynthia Kahn, alumna Hailey Gomez and alumnus Brandon Rodriguez, just to name a few.

Thank you to former USA Today Storytelling Coach and Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies Regional Program Director Pamela Fisher who has taught me so much real-world journalism knowledge. She is not only one of my favorite professors, but a great friend.

To the brutally honest Ismael Lopez-Medel Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, who showed me what my strengths were and pushed me to pursue my goals. I wouldn’t be as confident in my abilities if someone hadn’t shown me.

Lastly, my best friend and roommate these last four years, senior nursing major Dalia Wilson, for encouraging me and reading all of my articles. She’s been my biggest fan at APU every step of the way.

It is not the upper division classes and competitive nature of the journalism department that makes us stand out. It’s the professors who answer emails at 2 a.m. from panicking students, the leaders in ZU Media busting out stories under tight deadlines and the diverse APU community that engages in our content.

Thank you, APU and the Department of Communication Studies. This institution and its unique journalism program have allowed me to meet and interview some pretty cool people along the way. I’m graduating not only knowing how to edit a news package, host and edit a podcast or live radio show, write an article in under 20 minutes or live tweet a sports game, but I’m walking away with valuable connections I’ll cherish for a lifetime.