After one incredible year, my time as the self-proclaimed “Carrie Bradshaw” of the University of Tampa has come to a close. What started out as a preference for discussing topics related to sex in the media became a serious focal point in my life—many of my experiences with intimacy, dating and relationships are embedded deep in the words of the column (sometimes with subtlety, other times with blatant “you know who you are” clues similar to the style of Taylor Swift). I have given all of myself to this column, so I couldn’t help but wonder—in the end, what do I have to show for it?
Writing for The Minaret has been as much of a learning experience for myself as I hope it has been for its readers. Each article was written about a topic close to my heart, and I learned a majority of my thoughts and feelings on the subject while in the process of piecing together each and every column. Without this experience, I would not have discovered my comfort levels pertaining to specific topics (e.g. exactly how personal to be) or be nearly as comfortable with laying out my beliefs for the general public to digest. As a result, it has made me a stronger person– I am more confident in my own voice (and sassy side commentary) than ever before.
Being a part of The Minaret has been a highlight of my college experience as a whole. I’ve grown so much as a writer, and have loved the experience of seeing my work broadcast throughout the university (a special thanks to all twenty of you that read my work). In the last year, I have found a home and a family in a community of creative minds, and my only regret is that I didn’t join this organization sooner. (And that I never had an inappropriate relationship with a professor—though that doesn’t mean I didn’t try).
Lastly, my experience as a columnist has instilled the meaning of accountability in me. I am a procrastinator—and though this was never cured—the opinion section made it impossible for me to give up on writing just because I didn’t feel like it that week. Rather, the supportive (but often threatening) texts from my editor reminded me that when you are a part of something bigger, it isn’t okay to quit when you don’t want to try. Despite my efforts to take a couple weeks off, my editors refused, and for that I am grateful—for without them, I would have nothing to show for it.
Though my time in undergrad has come to a close, and it is difficult for me to imagine this column without myself being a part of it, I am pleased that it will be taken over by The Minaret’s very own Selene San Felice. Much like Hannah Webster did for me, I have grown to know her on a personal level and am confident that the column is being left in good hands—but I’ll keep reading it just to make sure.
My last piece of advice to new and current students alike is to treat every new experience, whether it be a club, sport, hobby, or any other activity, like your very first sexual encounter. Recall the fear of coming face to face with the unknown, the soft shivers in your spine and the goose bumps on your skin. Remember what it was like to dive head-first into that unknown, only to come out on the other side and realize—it wasn’t so scary, after all.
With love and boners,
Terry Preston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org