When I chose Poly Press Pass as my Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond activity before freshman year, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. My first choice (an outing with the Photo Club) had been taken, so I chose what I thought would be a short-term event that was minimally tied into what I originally wanted to do, and I planned on jumping ship soon thereafter.
What I didn’t anticipate was the fun I had taking photos for The Poly and the sense of community that I gained from working with its members. As I progressed up the ranks in The Poly, I learned more and more—not just about photography, but also about the entire spectrum of work that goes into the production process of a media organization. I still took photos—mostly of sports—but I also began to learn the inner workings of the business side of the paper, as well as layout, pagination, and graphic design.
As time passed, I got to know many of the members of The Poly. I learned a lot from them; the redesign of the layout would not have been possible without the knowledge that the older members of our staff passed down. As the years passed, though, many of our old staff graduated. Many of them went on to work at major companies, such as Microsoft and Facebook. All of them have left a lasting impression on me—and The Poly as a whole.
As older members graduated and time went on, new members joined. Friends of current members, fraternity brothers, people who stayed from NRB, and some people who just dropped in all added to the variety of viewpoints on staff. I had the chance to teach and guide many new members in the basics of photo editing and layout. I also polished my own skills through hands-on practice. It’s really remarkable what you can learn if you’re the one teaching or guiding others.
A lot of the time, you never know where life will take you. Choices, no matter how small, can have a massive impact on where your life ends up heading. You likely will meet people that you will know for a long time along your journey, and help many along theirs. In the end, though, it’s important to accept where life takes you, and to work from there for a better tomorrow.