Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Taking chances, learning lessons

So it all comes down to this. Here I am, on April 28, writing my final column for The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Now, while I may have been merely one of many writers for this newspaper, I feel that I owe it to my readership to write this final piece.

So why did I start writing for the Collegian on a regular basis as a junior in the fall of 2008? To start, I already had a background in working with a newspaper. In my junior and senior years of high school, I wrote for the school newspaper.

One of the articles I wrote for the “Hawk’s Claw” was on disability awareness and explaining my own family’s situation. Though I was the sports editor senior year, that column remains my biggest accomplishment from my time writing for my high school newspaper.

Now fast forward two years. As a sophomore at UMass, I wanted to spread the message that I had spread in high school. So I volunteered to write a guest column for the Collegian that served as the basis for a column I wrote for The Daily Hampshire Gazette in the summer of 2008.

I now had one Collegian and a Gazette column under my belt in addition to my high school experience. Really, aside from a couple of my high school articles, I was still a very limited writer. I had two issues I could talk about with authority – disability awareness and sports.

However, I had liked the feeling of seeing my name in the paper. I was also looking for a new experience. I wanted to do something that would give me personal satisfaction.

I was also trying to impress a girl. I don’t know if I ever impressed that girl, but what I do know is that I found passion in inspiring others. It was not so much the writing that mattered to me as much as the message that I was trying to convey in that writing. So here I am four semesters later.

To understand how the working for the Collegian has affected me, you have to know that up to my junior year, sports defined my life. Sports had been my life in high school. Granted I was not a very good athlete, but I was passionate to the point of obsession about sports. I was, and still am, a student–manager for the UMass Baseball team.

While I am still passionate about sports, the vision I had of myself started to change in my time with the Collegian. For three semesters, I was a weekly Editorial/Opinion writer. I intentionally stayed away from writing about sports in an effort to force myself to become educated about current events.

I believe that this decision is what has led me to graduate with a double major in sport management and history. While I have always had a passion for history, I feel that it was reinforced by writing educated opinion articles on current events. I believe that this has led me to the path that I am now on in exploring fields other than sports, such as public service. As I wrote for the Collegian, I wanted to become an agent of change by inspiring others or directly contributing to the solution of an issue and that has reflected back into how I live day to day life.

As I close out this final column, I am thinking of what my mother told me when I was first starting at UMass. My mother said to me, “You’re going from a place where you were a fish in a small pond to being a fish in a very big pond. I don’t want you to get lost.” After four years, I can say with pride that the man that many had pegged for a community college made it at a Division I college. And you had better believe that I am proud of that.

I also wish for this to be a lesson to others. No matter who you are, you can accomplish big things if you only believe that you can. Writing for the Collegian was merely one factor in learning that lesson for me, but it was a big factor.

In closing, I want to say thank you to all of you readers, to all of the members of the Collegian and to those who gave me a chance.

Matt Kushi was a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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