Closing Time

Juliana Nikac and Juliana Nikac

I remember walking through the involvement fair my freshman year like it was yesterday.

It’s super cheesy to say it that way, but it’s the truth. I vividly recall being overwhelmed by the amount of tables set up across the quad and the large groups of students gathered together in random spots. My roommate and I stuck as close to each other as possible and only stopped by the tables for organizations we were actually interested in joining. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew student media might suit me well. I stopped at every single student media table and wrote my name down to receive emails. Looking back on it, I lingered at the QBSN table the longest and talked to Gabbi, the editor-in-chief at the time, for roughly ten minutes.

I didn’t realize just how much of an impact that conversation with Gabbi and joining this organization would have on me, though.

I decided the best way for me to approach this new adventure was by diving in head first. If you know me, you’d probably think, “Oh, well this is normal for her.” But it’s not. I struggled with social anxiety for a good portion of my life and I’m not always the most outgoing person. Although it’s not as bad as it used to be, I still have ADHD that makes people think I’m a little crazy and quirky. In high school, I didn’t join any clubs and focused solely on cheerleading. That was my safe haven until I got injured my senior year and had to quit. Even before I found QBSN, I viewed college as an opportunity to be courageous and step outside of the bubble I kept myself in.

A little over two months after my first general meeting, I called my very first college hockey game as a color commentator with our current chairman, Kirby Paulson, doing play-by-play. I know hockey like the back of my hand, so of course I basically forgot everything and freaked out the entire game. When I took my headset off after the final horn, Kirby turned to me and said, “You’re calling another game with me, so don’t be nervous.”

Three years ago, I probably would’ve had a panic attack during one of the intermissions or post-game from the anxiety of embarrassment and worrying about a second game. Instead, I refused to let the fear of being distressed get to me. I called another men’s hockey game when Union came to town a month later with Kirby by my side again.

That small push from Kirby instilled a lot of confidence in me. I got my feet even more wet freshman year by writing and copy editing the magazine my second semester. Then I went out on a limb and applied for the open online editor position, largely because Kirby convinced me to.

It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Again, that’s pretty cheesy. But if I hadn’t applied to be online editor, I would’ve never received a lot of the opportunities I’ve gotten this year.

Outside of running the website, I did color for two of the biggest men’s hockey games of the season. In March, I covered the sweep of Yale and assisted the Albany crew post all articles and videos for the men’s and women’s basketball tournament. That might’ve been the most stressful (and awesome) weekend of the semester. The work behind putting the magazines together may have included late nights and pushed-back deadlines, but the outcome and progress we’ve made issue by issue is so gratifying to see.

As I mentioned before, becoming a member of QBSN has influenced my life in ways I could’ve never imagined. I’ve grown not only as a writer, but as a person. I reminisce about where my mental state was in high school and where I am now and it’s overwhelming to see my improvement. I wasn’t in the greatest place back then, but it’s amazing what an awesome organization and wonderful group of people can do to your self-esteem. The past two years have been the best of my 19-almost-20 years of existence.

So it’s pretty difficult to sit in the library right now, on the verge of tears, and write that I will not be returning to all of this next year. Not just QBSN, but Quinnipiac as well. After a lot of contemplation and some crying (maybe a lot), I’ve decided to transfer to Boston University this upcoming fall.

This has, by far, been the toughest choice I’ve ever made. When I received the acceptance letter in early April, I realized there’s no way I can pass up an opportunity like this. It’s going to be challenging to acclimate to a whole new system and student body, but I’m ready to take it on. Just like I did two years ago calling that second hockey game with Kirby.

Thank you to every person who has pushed me to be better and strive for perfection, even though it can never be achieved. Thank you to all of the e-board for making QBSN so successful this year and for making me laugh my butt off in the group chat sometimes. Thank you to all of the friends who have supported my decision and keep me afloat on a daily basis. And obviously, my biggest thank you goes to the Kirby Paulson. If it wasn’t for him, I would have never stepped outside of the box and accomplished so much while being a member of student media. Thank you for being such an inspiration to not only me but everyone who walks through your life.

Even though I’m leaving, QBSN will always hold a special place in my heart. There’s no way I’d be who I am today without every single person that has been in this organization.

Thank you for everything.