Photo by Autumn Walter |CIGAR|
Zach DeLuca – Senior Farewell
Whenever I tell people about my academic career I tend to say I took, what I call, an “unconventional route” through college. I graduated from high school back in 2011. Now, after traveling around the country and world, withdrawing and re-enrolling in school, being a part-time student and working year round, I am finally graduating with a double major seven years later.
After a first semester in North Carolina where I felt out of place both on campus and in my studies, I transferred back home to Rhode Island and enrolled in URI in January 2012. Unfortunately, I still had trouble getting invested in my classes. I didn’t know what I wanted to study or do with my life. I felt like I was lacking something compared to my friends, who were already declared majors. I couldn’t say with any confidence, “I want to be an engineer,” “I want to be an accountant” or “I want to be a doctor.”
After a year and a half stumbling through gen-eds with no sense of direction, I took some time off.
I went to London, in February 2014 to see the country and visit my girlfriend who was studying abroad. When I came back, I almost immediately hopped on a plane to go to California. That spring I spent months traveling the west coast. Then I drove back across the country, stopping to see several national parks and monuments during the week’s long drive home. The trip allowed me to step away from the frustrations of school work and it taught me a lot about being independent and kept my interest in traveling alive.
I re-enrolled in school that fall at CCRI. After two years, I completed my associates degree in general studies while working a few days a week during the school year. During my time at CCRI I fell back in love with writing, and redirected some of this love toward journalism.
When I came back to URI in the spring of 2016, I finally had the confidence to say “I want to be a writer” and “I want to be a journalist.” I declared majors in both journalism and film/media. Not only had I learned to see the importance of journalism because of the looming presidential election but I found myself reading more entertainment journalism as I started to study film. I finally felt engaged in school work as I dove into my journalism and film classes.
This is where the Good Five Cent Cigar comes in. When I found the paper I wasn’t sure what to expect. I still felt some doubt in the quality of my work and value in my voice as a writer. I came to my first meeting hesitant, thinking I didn’t have much to contribute. But the satisfaction that came with seeing my first printed byline affirmed that this was the career for me. After just one semester I ran for Entertainment Editor. Once I was elected, a lot of the doubt in my voice as a writer began to fade away and I’ve held the position for a year and a half now.
The paper gave me a place to practice my writing and learn how to express myself. It allowed me to write about the things I loved and the amazing work students are doing in the URI arts departments. I made new friends and professional connections. Most importantly, it confirmed my passion for my career as an aspiring film critic and writer. Being able to work for the paper, with a great team of reporters and editors is an experience that I will forever be grateful for.