The Collegian: A place of opportunity where I found home

By Adam Aucoin

(Adam Aucoin)

Coming to UMass in the fall of 2013 as a young, naïve freshman, I could not have expected to experience everything I did over the past four years.

There’s one place to thank for this and it’s some dingy, old room in the depths of the Campus Center basement.

That dingy, old room is a room I learned to call home over the past three years.

I still remember walking into the Massachusetts Daily Collegian for the first time the first week of my sophomore year. I had decided to come down because I felt like I needed to, not because I wanted to. As the weeks passed by, the work ethic I saw around me inspired me and the Collegian became something I wanted instead of something I needed.

Guys like former sports editors Mark Chiarelli and Anthony Chiusano and current sports editor Andrew Cyr showed me what it takes to be successful, and their constant guidance gave me confidence to take a larger role as the years went on.

Journalism doesn’t always provide you a steady ascent up the ranks, though, and that’s another thing the Collegian has taught me. At the end of my first year with the Collegian, I applied to be an assistant editor. I didn’t get it, but that wasn’t going to stop me from working hard. Adversity wasn’t going to define my work. I took this as an indicator to step up my game to a whole different level.

The next time I applied, halfway through my junior year after putting in hard work on the women’s soccer and basketball beat, I got it and the rest is history.

If you were to tell me the first time I sat down on those old couches that I would be covering the top sports at UMass just a few years later, I would have told you you’re crazy.

The amount of places I have been able to go because of this place is amazing. From covering the football team at Gillette Stadium to travelling to Pittsburgh (and getting a speeding ticket) for the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament to covering a game at hallowed Fenway Park for the baseball team, I could not be more in awe of the opportunities the Collegian has given me.

When it comes down to it, working at the Collegian does look great on a resume and especially writing for a sports section that has produced the likes of Pete Abraham and Steve Buckley, among others. But to me, the Collegian is so much more than that.

It’s about the people.

It’s about the people who sacrifice so much of their college careers to produce a paper four times a week for not only their own worth, but the worth of others.

It’s about the long car rides, the Cyr “Dave Matthews Band” playlists and the conversations you never want to see end.

It’s about the many laughs we’ve had together and the hardships we’ve gotten through because we’ve had each other.

I’ve seen so much over my time here with the Collegian, whether it was coaching hirings or firings or “changes of heart” (looking at you Pat Kelsey). I’ve seen the triumphs of wins and the sadness of losses. I’ve seen people come and go from the Collegian, but one thing will always remain and that’s the work ethic of the people that produce that paper every day.

Not many people get to experience the types of things I have over the past few years and have a physical imprint of the work they do on a daily basis.

The Collegian has provided me all of these things and so much more. To this, I say goodbye and thank you.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @aaucoin34.