This year was hell, no way around it. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt as lonely, scared, sad and defeated as I have since we initially went into lockdown over one year ago. I know a lot of people around this country feel the same way.
We’re still going through it, still fighting the misinformation, the selfishness and the hatred fueled by the American response to COVID-19, and I hope for the sake of the university, vaccinating people and moving toward normalcy is the next step.
This year has shown us the best and worst in all of us, and I’m definitely not immune. I’ve felt lost, hopeless, down and downright done with doing all of this stuff. It’s exhausting to keep going, and sometimes I don’t even feel I’m doing well at that.
But, thanks to the incomparable staff I have surrounding me, I was able to reach a goal I didn’t even realize was attainable. Together, we were able to put out a newspaper on a traditional schedule in the least traditional way: almost entirely remote. I’ve been given so much from my staff, and it’s time to pay it back.
It was a different year, but it was a great one. The Post now has a fully functioning library with all our past issues, distribution locations in more buildings than they were before and we upheld a journalistic standard that has stood for 62 years.
I might be the EIC, but the person who really steered this office back to the way it should be is Emily Morris. Her work as managing editor will be felt for years through her incredible work with our archives, and I’m lucky to have spent a whole year working beside her. Shoutout Bridget Janis and Meg Speaks, too, for restoring some normalcy in our office by showing up almost weekly when no one else would. You kept me from imploding in my desk chair.
Our adviser Garry Gilbert has been a breath of fresh air, as well. His steady demeanor and genuine care for the journalism world are an inspiration, and the university is lucky to have not just him, but everyone in our journalism department.
In addition, his and Holly Gilbert’s philanthropic efforts with scholarships at this university have helped many, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed. It will never be forgotten by me, either, as someone personally affected by that generosity.
I’ve been able to work with some of the most helpful and passionate people around through sports. Mekye Phelps, Maria Rivera, Jeff Tungate and Steve Waterfield have been some of the most helpful people for me when covering sports. I’ve gained a ton from working with them and countless other athletics staff.
Additionally, Athletics has given me the chance to meet industry professionals and go places that normal student journalists don’t get to go. Getting involved with OU sports has given me a lot, and I thank everyone there for welcoming me and being patient with us student-journalists.
Lastly, I’d be remiss to not mention the one constant in my life, my dad Big Mike. I know you’re reading this, so thank you for everything, from day one to day 7,979. I owe everything I’ve accomplished to the way he raised me.
For the last time at the Oakland Post, I’m Michael Pearce, and thanks for reading my stuff if you have. Through the good and bad stuff I wrote, I just wanted to benefit the campus community and make an impact around me. I hope I made everyone who cared for me proud, and I’m thankful for anyone who’s shown me love in any way throughout my time here. I’ll never forget Oakland, The Post and everyone I’ve met.