A story where the past, present, and future of my WVC years meet all at once.
From L-R: 2021 me (age: 18), 2022 me (age: 19), and 2023 me (age: 20).
Where to Begin?
If I were to write in a linear sense, I began my freshman year at Wabash Valley College (WVC) in the hot, hot, hot month of August 2021. Sticking with the linear pattern, I did this and that, then more of this, and maybe a little less than that, then, after two years, I graduated WVC with two Associate's Degrees: an Associate's in Applied Science (Radio/TV Communications) and an Associate's in Arts and Science. Later on in the summer, I will move to Normal, IL, and I will pursue a Bachelor's in Journalism at Illinois State University. I'll shine as a TV news anchor/reporter.
Honestly, I don't have the desire to write clockwise or linear and, to prove my point, I will begin the next passage with something quite unrelated to the topic of graduation. Something like, "I love the taste of coffee."
Like a Sponge
I love the taste of coffee. I am not a sugary-coffee kind of person, although I started out as one. Don't get me wrong–I love sugar. The people at WEHT-TV over in Henderson, KY, also enjoy sugary treats. The Chief Photographer Journalist once went "Psst" and handed me some chocolate candies. The exchange wasn't a secret as "Psst" notions usually are. It was something small, slightly unnoticeable, and shared. As he walked away, I wolfed down the candies because it was 4 p.m., and I hadn't had lunch.
The smell of coffee was the aroma of my early mornings at my internship. Through the WVC Radio/TV Department, we sophomore students have to have internships. I wanted to intern at a news station since TV news is the field I eagerly like. Thanks to Lead Instructor and Director of Broadcasting Kyle Peach, I scored the internship at WEHT-TV.
At my internship, I was storing information and news slang (B.A.S. - Big bleep Screen) like a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter. I was the definition of the phrase "soak up like a sponge." I was a reporter, editor, photographer, intern, and college student all in one at the station. On my last day, the director tasked me with putting together a news story.
I sat in a rolling chair in one of the editing bays. As I edited the clips together in a tranquil mode of peacefulness, I rolled my chair into September 2021. Video editing was my enemy. I wanted to understand the software I was working with, so I kept asking the more experienced video editors around me for help. Gradually, I became better. Back then, I reported on stories differently than I do now.
Nonetheless, I still always end the stories with, "From News Channel 15 . . ."
". . .I'm Maggee Bleyer." This phrase was the key to how I made friends.
It was my second biology class session. It was August 2021, and my freshman year of WVC had just begun. I wore a blue-green two-piece tank/skirt outfit. Walking around the halls and Quad of the college made me realize the existence of a dress code vanished along with the linear rules of K-12 schooling.
I made two friends in biology, Jodi and Maranda. They were soccer girls. Funnily enough, we were all "queens" in high school–two Homecoming Queens and an ROTC Queen. We talked about everything and hung out outside of class. Fast forward to 2023, I talk to Maranda occasionally when I see her, and Jodi transferred to another school at the end of '21.
I was now transported to Student Senate, a club I joined because of its opportunities to latch onto a leadership role (I proudly served as a Student Service Board Officer for two WVC years). I was eager to make a difference in my community and campus. I also wanted to make friends.
At one of the meetings, we were asked to tape fliers for an upcoming event on all the walls of the WVC campus. I tagged along with some of the friends I had already made at high school who were also WVC students. Although, a new girl joined us. I learned her name was Ni. She is Vietnamese and was originally from Vietnam until she moved to the United States during her high school years.
I passed by a classroom with a flier in my hands and, suddenly, I was sitting in there. It was my first day of Introduction to Broadcasting. We went over the syllabus, and the class ended as soon as it had started. Before I left, a happy-looking boy introduced himself as Micah Henson. He already knew me. Later on, I learned Micah knew everyone before they knew him.
I was in the classroom again, but it was now a month after I had met Micah. I was partnered with him and another student named Dawson Cochran for a project. We did an excellent job on the project, and I learned more about the two boys. Two years later, not only did me and the two guys grow closer as best friends, but they grew beards, too.
Without warning, I entered the news studio and it was January 2022. A red-haired girl who loved Hallmark and theatre introduced herself to me as Rebecca Barker. She was bound to be one of my future best friends. Lucky for me, I am friends with Micah, so I knew Rebecca before she knew me.
To Achilles From Athena
Before my freshman year truly began, I took a summer class at WVC called Quantitative Reasoning. It was surprisingly easy for a student who is not the best at math.
I was working at the city pool at the time. I had written a letter to my grandpa. Writing letters to each other was a usual ritual for us. We rarely called or texted. He would include funnies in the letters and cards he wrote to me. We often addressed each other as Greek mythological characters, like Achilles and Athena. We were beaming bright stars in one another's lives.
I wrote something to the effect of, "College is going to be so weird, I'm overthinking this and that, then more of this, and maybe a little less than that."
My grandpa wrote back to me to the effect of, "You're overthinking this. College will be fun. Just keep on steppin'."
He said "Keep on steppin'" a lot, and he also called twenty-dollar bills "Lousy 20s."
Everything and Nothing
I made lots of friends through Student Senate. In December 2021, I was invited to a "grilled cheese" party by one of my friends. By the time I arrived, all the grilled cheese sandwiches were gone, but I had some cookies.
I sat on one of the couches in my ramen-themed pajamas and watched my friends play Guitar Hero. I wasn't really watching them, though. I was thinking about my grandpa, and I was also in the future answering a phone call where I learned my job at the newspaper I wrote for didn't exist anymore.
Before the party, I was introduced as the new Student Trustee at the IECC Board Meeting. Dr. Fowler, the WVC President, gifted me a tray of chocolates–and, if you know me, chocolate is what makes up my bloodstream. I loved being at the meeting–as nerdy as it sounds, the Student Trustee role meant everything to me. I was extremely happy.
I brought this same joyful energy home. I babbled about my great day and about my chocolates to my parents. I was going to go to the aforementioned party soon, so I went and changed into the dress code: pajamas. As I was about ready to leave, my dad was now standing in front of me.
"I just wanted to let you know. . . ." he said to me in the kind of tone where I might be in trouble or something bad happened.
My grandpa passed away earlier in the day–so, yes, he was talking in the way where something bad had happened.
I still went to the party because hang-outs and busy work de-stressed my mind. I remember displaying an excited attitude, almost hyper. Sitting on the couch, though, I was feeling nothing. They could've presumed I was visiting another planet in my head. Whenever I babbled, just to show I was having a good time and life was normal, they could've then assumed I was my chipper usual self. Yet, as grief goes, I was stuck in a nonlinear passage of time before December 2021.
A couple of weeks later, I did not have a newspaper writing job anymore due to the newspaper itself closing down. Then, a week passed, and I was at a visitation and a funeral. Linear-wise, after those two events, I was sitting on my bed thinking about the future of 2022. I liked WVC. I wanted to go back. I had hopes for the new year to be excellent. I imagined the anger I was feeling about the crappy month I had to dissipate as soon as the clock struck 12. I wondered, as the antique clock in my living room sang its song at the click of 12 a.m., if every linear ring would promise every uncomfortable emotion to leave my body.
At the twelfth ring, it was the spring of 2022. I had and still have a heavy schedule full of college work and jobs. I loved the influx of work I had to do on a day-to-day basis. I fell in love with TV news, I was constantly busy, and, whenever I did have time to do whatever I wanted to do, I hung out or ate lunch with my friends.
I time-traveled again to 2023. I was now the Rotaract President, still a Student Senate Board Member, the President of Phi Theta Kappa, an intern, a writer, a reporter, an anchor, a producer, a radio DJ, a college student, and everything else. I was busy, busy, busy, and I loved every minute of it.
Writing as my most present self, seeing my face and hearing my voice on the TV is one of the most coolest and rewarding aspects of my TV news career. I enjoy looking at past newscasts where I anchored and obverse on how I've improved over the years. I love coming home after anchoring/producing the news and seeing my parents watch my clone on the TV screen. My TV clone and I look very much alike, clothes and all.
In summary, I was living, breathing, and healing by doing what I loved. I looked too long into the 2023 sky, and its strangely nostalgic sight transported me back to the spring of 2022. The common response to my tired-looking eyes and to my extensive schedule was, "Have you tried drinking coffee?" Yuck. I hated coffee.
18, 19, and 20 All at Once
It was Halloween 2022. Student Senate holds a Trunk-or-Treat event every October. Not sure if it's physically possible for both chocolate and the Halloween holiday to be a part of my bloodstream, but, until scientists can prove it, I am a Halloween-obsessed individual. I love Halloween. WVC's Halloween was so much fun. We all wore costumes, passed out candy to trick-or-treaters, ate candy, and hung out with our friends. I was dressed as the Devil. Yes, I received a multitude of jokes where I was dressing as my true self, and, yes, the children dressed as angels gave me glares.
My costumed friends and I joined the WVC Halloween party fun and hyped up Mike Wazowski (Micah) who was dancing away in a competition. We screamed at him to dance as if we were passionate football coaches watching their teams go for a touchdown. He didn't win, but he at least came in second place.
It was late. As we were all leaving the Student Lounge, I took in the Halloween air of the night. I was simultaneously my 18, 19, and 20-year-old self. At 18, I helped plan the look of the Student Lounge. At 19, the Student Lounge was finished and occupied by students. At 20, the news studio was my Student Lounge.
As all of those ages combined into one coherent memory, I was thinking about my time at WVC. Ms. Winter, my Writing For Media teacher, who was also once my Interpersonal Communications teacher back in 2021, assigned the class to write a blog post about their time at WVC. I wasn't exactly sure what to write. The past two years have been great with the exception of a few bad times. I wondered if I should avoid the bads entirely and write the most gloriously happy story the world has ever seen.
Yet, when I began writing, I remembered one extremely important detail of my WVC career: my journey. I've grown so much. Without WVC and my friends, I wouldn't know how to overcome the downs and keep moving toward the ups. I've learned a lot about myself and have grown my confidence at WVC. I've been able to shine and blossom. I love all the people I've met and the friends I've made along the way. To write my story without my downs would be artificial. All of the healing, growth, and self-love I've gained these past two years is an incredible part of my story as a WVC student.
I didn't have much time to be sad about the Halloween night coming to a close because it wasn't even autumn anymore. The flowers are blooming, the air is nice, and it's May 2023.
Whenever my friends from the Radio/TV Program and I want ice cream, McDonald’s is usually our first option. However, the darn restaurant always has a “broken” ice cream machine. So, instead, we go to Burger King–which always has consistently delectable treats. Lately, we’ve been grabbing ice cream more and more–and, oddly enough, I feel like we have bonded over these sweet Burger King excursions.
My friends and I will take our vanilla ice cream cones and walk around the beautiful WVC campus–or, we will laugh to tears at each other’s jokes in the News Channel 15 studio with half-drank milkshakes in our hands. We like making each other laugh and, most importantly, we like being together. I love going to the studio whenever my friends are there–even if it’s just one or two of them. We always find something to talk about, but, when we’re burnt out on conversation, we enjoy one another’s presence in comfortable silence.
Random pictures throughout '21, '22, and '23 at WVC.
The spring 2023 semester at WVC has been my favorite. My friend Ni and I went to Cafe 82:3 every Tuesday before the Student Senate meetings. I loved our tranquil little dates before we entered the campus walls. She always orders matcha. I change it up.
I could write about all of what I've done at WVC but, instead, I want to end this nonlinear story by writing to the 2021 me who was sitting on her bed waiting for the clock to strike 12.
Dear College Freshman Me,
Eventually, you get your groove back. You don't know this yet, but, one day, you will be assigned to write a blog post about your time at WVC. As you're sitting down and writing the story, you are in the Radio/TV studio. You saw Ni and your friend Brady this morning and ate breakfast with them. You just now ate a Pizza Hut dinner with your Radio/TV friends. Life moves a lot faster than you had initially thought, and, while you don't write letters as often as you’d like to, it's okay. Sometimes the people you want to write letters to are across the hall.
Also, start drinking coffee. We don't have time to be tired!
From the 2023 WVC year, this is Maggee Bleyer, signing off.