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

Chase moments, not numbers

I always want more, but it’s important to pause and appreciate what I have
Colin McCarthy / Daily Collegian

I’ve spent my entire time at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian chasing things.

I took the leap and joined in the first place so I could chase my dreams, but soon after that, I started looking for more. I saw the people in front of me — people like Amin Touri, who had 245 Collegian bylines — and told myself that I needed to get to where he was. Even when I only had 15, I said, “I can beat that.”

So, I started chasing bylines and chasing the people that came before me. Once I got access to the backend of our website, I obsessed over my view count. Why did this story get more views than mine? Why did my 125-word breaking news story get 8,900 views when my 2,500-word feature story only got 650?

I got wrapped up in the numbers, and for a long time, I couldn’t get out of that. Maybe I never completely will. But now I’m sitting here, and the clock is ticking. Time is running out, and I can’t do anything to stop it. And suddenly, I’m not thinking about any of those numbers.

The day after the hockey season ended, I wasn’t thinking about what my favorite stories were. I was thinking about all the road trips I went on with my best friends. All the chicken tender baskets we shared. The nonstop laughter. The Disney channel carpool karaoke moments.

Those are the moments I want to share as I part ways with the best years of my life.

I’ll never forget the date —  March 11, 2020 — and not for the reason you’re probably thinking. I got a message from Evan Marinofsky that said something along the lines of, “great work on your story last night, you made it to print!”

Few moments in my college career matched the way my heart felt when I picked up a copy of the Collegian newspaper and saw my name on the top of the sports page. I’d only started writing a month prior, and I still wasn’t sure I even wanted to be a writer.

That newspaper clipping made me sure. I saved many copies of it, and I keep one hanging over my desk. It makes me proud and reminds me of how far I’ve come.

My first season covering the UMass hockey team was as exciting of a time as I’ve been a part of here. Talking to head coach Greg Carvel on a weekly basis was instrumental in my growth as a journalist. If you asked a bad question, he let you know, but he never stopped appreciating us, and that’s something I won’t take for granted. Carvel played just as large a role in my journalistic development as my editors did.

One moment stands out from that season more than all the rest. It wasn’t the moment UMass won the national championship, or the moment my story came out about that game. It was one memorable text message with seven minutes left.

Lulu Kesin, who I credit so much of my growth as a writer to, and who has been a tremendous sports editor for two years, was blowing up my phone like crazy during the whole game. Back then, we were both just staff writers trying to make our mark, and she sent a text that said something along the lines of “you deserve this.” She reminded me throughout the night that not only was this the coolest thing I’d done, but that I put in the work and belonged in that spot.

Little things like that are what made me fall in love with this crazy college newspaper. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I loved every second of editing and posting hundreds of stories late at night. These last three years have been a grind, but one I’d go back and do again 100 times over because of the friendships I made.

If you want the final numbers, here they are: I have 216 bylines for the Collegian, including this one. I’ve edited and posted 488 stories on the website. I covered one national championship, two Hockey East Championships and games at the TD Garden and Fenway Park, along with countless other arenas. I started the video section, possibly my proudest achievement over the last three years. And, I have been an active member in just about every section of the Collegian.

While all those things are very important, five years from now I’m not sure how many of those things I’ll even be thinking about. Here’s some stats I hope I never forget:

Chili’s is a great place to hold sports editor meetings.

Outcider from Belfast is one of the best drinks I’ve ever tasted.

The off-campus house I lived in with three other incredible writers, and now two of my closest friends, created some of the best memories of my senior year.

And lastly, the bylines pale in comparison to the friendships. Luckily, the Collegian gave me a lot of both.

Even if I never stop obsessing over the numbers, I hope at the very least I don’t keep letting them define me. Sometimes it’s nice to stop, take a deep breath and remind yourself what really matters.

Colin McCarthy was the head video editor and an assistant sports editor. And an arts writer. An op/ed contributor. A photographer. A podcast host. And just about anything else you can think of. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.

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