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Ford: I loved feeling connected to campus

Sydney Ford

I have a very vivid memory of walking into the newspaper office for an interest meeting in the fall of my freshman year and immediately being very overwhelmed.
This seems like a lifetime ago now, but it’s hard to believe it was just over four years ago. I was on a new campus, where I knew less than 10 people, and the office was packed with staff members and people interested in joining The Tiger.
I remember the editor-in-chief at the time introduced herself, and I found my way to the copy section, which would eventually become my home.
I knew I wanted to get involved with the newspaper, but I didn’t have any prior experience with journalism. Being a copy editor seemed like a good way to get involved with the paper in a backstage role. I expressed interest in the position and soon found myself on the staff of the oldest collegiate newspaper in South Carolina. 
My first year, we put together our annual Best of Clemson issue in spring, went through several leadership changes and witnessed Clemson win a National Championship with an accompanying victory edition of the newspaper.
As a freshman, I spent countless hours in the media suite in Hendrix, meeting on Thursdays for staff meetings and spending Sundays sitting on the faded blue couch in the corner of the room editing all the articles that would be published in the days to come. I loved feeling connected to campus, knowing all the news before it spread across Clemson and working with the staff to put together something we could be proud of.
During my freshman year, Rebecca West ’21 was sworn in as editor-in-chief, and it is thanks to her leadership during her three-year tenure through the pandemic that The Tiger continues to roar for Clemson today. 
Later, during my sophomore year, we were forced to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions. The fall semester was normal, with our continued coverage of all things Clemson, but spring semester inevitably brought challenges.
Sophomore year brought along countless Zoom meetings, virtual production days, a failed National Championship run (rip), greater discussions around the names of some of Clemson’s landmarks, including Old Main (Tillman Hall) and the Clemson Honors College, a Women’s March in November and a greater appreciation for a time before a worldwide pandemic that disrupted the college experience for millions of students across the world. 
My junior year, I became copy chief, so I was faced with new responsibilities, including managing the other copy editors. I think being copy chief taught me leadership and teamwork, as the team of copy editors and I made sure all the articles submitted got edited.
During junior year, we grew our staff and flourished, even though we were still meeting virtually and having production day online. We used Discord to communicate, and months went by before I met some of the other copy editors in person, which was an interesting experience. We covered a sit-in at Sikes Hall for survivors of interpersonal violence, grew our coverage of other sports, including a regular season ACC championship win for Clemson softball, and continuously monitored the coronavirus on Clemson’s campus and in the surrounding community.
That year also brought the departure of many longtime staff members I had come to see as leaders on The Tiger as they graduated and left the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains we’ve all grown to call home. It welcomed a new editor-in-chief, David Ferrara, who was sworn in for the upcoming school year. 
Senior year brought further growth to The Tiger as we continued to grow our staff and presence on campus. We covered the men’s soccer national championship win, Charlie Kirk’s visit to campus and the Take Back Pride march and controversy. I began a new position as a senior writer for TimeOut and began to write articles instead of editing them for the first time. 
Throughout my time on The Tiger, I have seen us grow and change in unimaginable ways. I am endlessly grateful for the people I have met here and the memories I’ve made. Thank you all for your hard work and continued dedication, and go Tigers!
Sydney Ford is graduating with a degree in sociology and was the copy chief for The Tiger.

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