By: RYAN LOHMAN
Editor in Chief
I am the editor in chief of The Preface, the official student newspaper of IU South Bend, and I never would have had this job at any other university.
I am a non-traditional student, a term demographers use to describe those of us in college who are not between the ages of 18 and 22, the traditional age range for college students. I am 29, and finally, after six years, I am nearing the end of my second chance at college. The first chance ended in disaster.
I was a traditional student the first time around. I had just graduated from Washington High School in the spring of 2005 and had applied to IU South Bend on a lark when one day in high school my history teacher dismissed early those of us who wanted to meet with an admissions counselor from IUSB. I just wanted to leave class early. But I applied, nonetheless.
Ill-prepared and without the time to commit, I started at IUSB in the fall of 2005. I failed three of my five classes and declined to signup for the following semester. Defeated, I took various low-paying jobs in retail and stopped dreaming of a better future for half of a decade.
I returned to IUSB part-time in the fall of 2010 after having been urged to do so by my girlfriend, who would later become my wife, a beautiful drawing and painting student named Nicole. I thought I would be too old, that it would feel weird to be in classes with younger students. Nicole knew that wouldn’t be the case. As always, I am glad I listened to Nicole.
What I found instead, in our little corner of the Indiana University universe, was a campus that welcomed the non-traditional student. We thrive here, and not at the expense of the traditional student either. No, they thrive too. One only need look as far as the Student Government Association (SGA) for a perfect illustration of this dynamic.
When I first took a job at The Preface as a staff writer, I made the SGA my beat, covering each of their Friday meetings. I was impressed that among those elected representatives sat a diverse cross-section of our student body. Everyone was represented. The SGA’s diversity is even more impressive now, and the president is older than I am. (No offense, Stephen.)
I can’t say on what journey Student Body President Stephen Salisbury came to be here now. That’s a story I am sure he would love to share on his own. But I can tell you he works incredibly well with his younger peers, and that that situation seems as natural as any.
IU South Bend uniquely offers the opportunity for a second chance for non-traditional students who may not be able to leave their homes, their jobs, their families and responsibilities. That make IUSB an amazing resource for any community. How luck of us to have it in our backyard.
I too lead a mixed group of traditional and non-traditional students at The Preface. Together with them, I have brought you campus news for the last three semesters as editor and before that as a staff writer. I am afraid now, dear reader, that I must graduate and leave this place.
But first, some observations: I probably would never have gone to college at all without having one so conveniently close to my home that offered such convenient class times that I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. So thank you Indiana University, for that convenience. Journalism is something you learn through practice, not theory, and I never would have learned it without The Preface, where I got a whole lot of practice. So thank you, Ken Klimek, faculty advisor to The Preface, and to my editors and peers. And last, dear read, I thank you. It is no secret that IUSB is suffering a lull in enrollment. Well, the lower the enrollment, the lower The Preface’s budget. That’s true for every campus organization, but it has hit The Preface hard over the last couple of years, causing us to cut issues and staff. It is important that your readership is visible to those who plan the budget. So please like The Preface on Facebook. Pick our paper copies up off of the stands. Share our stories from iusbpreface.net. And interact with the writers and editors here. We love to hear from you.
In closing I will say this: I feel as though I have been successful at IUSB this time around. But that’s only because of resources like The Preface. So let’s not take them for granted, and let’s be thankful for our little corner of Indiana University.