Introducing our new Editor-in-Chief Jeff Thomas

At+his+childhood+home+in+Capac%2C+MI%2C+Jeff+Thomas+takes+a+break+from+his+birthday+celebration+to+pose+with+his+two+younger+brothers.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Thomas.

At his childhood home in Capac, MI, Jeff Thomas takes a break from his birthday celebration to pose with his two younger brothers.

Bridget Janis, Features Editor

With a passion for writing and a lot of life experience, Jeff Thomas takes on the role as the 2021-2022 editor-in-chief of The Oakland Post. He brings fresh ideas and an optimistic perspective for the upcoming school year.

Thomas grew up in Capac, Michigan. A nontraditional senior at Oakland University, he graduated high school in 2012. He migrated to South Hamlin Hall, though he never quite settled down.

A man with a variety of experience and talents, after his freshman year at OU in 2012-2013, he spent several years working in the skilled trades, retail and as a DJ before returning to pursue his passion for writing.

Having spent some time away from school, he is happier with the decisions he can make now than the ones he figures he would have made when he first graduated high school.

“Having the life experience has certainly helped me,” Thomas said. “You come to realize things happen when they happen and you shouldn’t compare your life or what you’ve got going on to other people.”

Thomas joined The Post as Features Editor in August of 2020 after a bit of a nudge from Professor of Journalism Holly Shreve Gilbert. Gilbert pushed Thomas to improve as a journalist in the summer of 2020 during her features writing course. A class which, had it not been for COVID-19, he would have never had the time to take.

“Had it not been for the pandemic, I would have spent the entire summer working my day job installing fences,” Thomas said. “Like a lot of people at the beginning of COVID-19, I was unemployed with nothing much to do. I took that class to stay busy and it ended up being a game changer.”

After being on staff as a section editor, Thomas first considered becoming editor-in-chief after a discussion with Michael Pearce, the former editor-in-chief. The support from his predecessors at The Post and The Post’s board made Thomas believe that he could thrive in an elevated role, even though pursuing the position wasn’t something he had planned. 

“This is very much out of my comfort zone, it’s very unusual,” Thomas said. “You can’t predict anything like this is going to happen.” 

As editor-in-chief, Thomas hopes to meet the moment and help rebuild the campus community after a year of COVID-19 separating everyone. With goals to influence the upcoming year’s staff and guide them on their pathway through The Post, he wants to facilitate a positive experience for everyone that he is working with.

“I would just like to leave The Post better off than it was when I came here,” he said. “I look at the people and the personnel we have and I want to encourage people. I want people to be able to succeed on their own and succeed for The Post.”

After graduation next spring, Thomas hopes to be accepted into an MFA program for poetry. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll be happy to pursue more opportunities in journalism. 

Thomas’ real passion is poetry, which stems from his love for music. He’s been singing and playing guitar for years. While he wasn’t ever that good, he always enjoyed the song writing aspect and became attracted to poetry’s inherent musicality. 

Since finding writing through other talents, he felt that being an English major with a double minor in Journalism and Creative Writing was the best way for him to improve as a writer. Ultimately, Thomas wants to write and publish books with the long term goal being to work as a college professor. For now though he’s living in the moment and taking it one day at a time.

“I believe in what I’m doing. I believe in journalism and certainly The Post, and certainly the people I’m around at OU as far as my classmates and my professors,” Thomas said.