Be Bold And Make Mistakes: Jack Lukow’s Senior Column
My time at Onward State is over.
I’ve had a short, but rewarding two years behind the camera for the blog. And now I sit trying to write down the moral of my story. What is worth passing on to future Onward Staters? What is worth being in the summary of my time?
It’s worth noting that without Onward State my college career would have been empty. There isn’t a single memory that isn’t somehow related to my work and my closest friends, all of which were through Onward State. I’ve had so many opportunities and so many experiences. My college experience, what is supposed to be the most defining experience on one’s life, is almost entirely defined by my work for the blog and my relationships I’ve built through it.
When I joined, I was terrified. Everyone was a definitive personality — loud, outspoken, and funny. I was intimidated and afraid to be bold. If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be this: don’t do that. Be bold, and make mistakes. Speak your mind and bring ideas. If there were ever a time to be wrong and learn from it, it’s now. And if people ask tell them that, you’re learning and want to continue to learn. You’ll wind up being the smartest person in the room if you do it enough. I hope those that are joining Onward State and those on staff now continue to make the site excellent, and carry it into the bright future.
There are too many people to thank for the endless experiences I had at Onward State. Everyone has been a part of my college career, from those that I tricked into hiring me (hey thanks Kevin) to those I learned from after I hired them (hey Dana, Fun Kevin, and Bauer.)
What I can tell you is that my career was the most unique and exciting thing I could ever hope to be involved in.
I started out as a videographer, which was a bold move considering I had never made a video in my life. After a few fumbles, I started to learn my craft and develop my network. This lead to one of my proudest achievements, creating the Onward State video team and turning video into another pillar of our publication. Shout out to the whole original crew, A-Aron, Anthony, and Rickens. We all had no idea what we were getting into, and we handled ourselves about as best as we could. I’ll never forget the day after all of us officially started working was the Sanctions Rally, and we stayed up until 8 in the morning putting together one of my favorite videos. It was then I knew I had an amazing crew together, and we just got better with time.
I put together this video really for myself, but it’s worth sharing. This is five seconds from every video I had a hand in making, and it was only while editing it that I realized how much my camera had seen.
My last semester here was defined by my photos — covering Penn State football can be pretty defining after all. Thanks to this, I was able to travel all over the northeast with friends that would become my closest and most important relationships. I was able to help new photographers grow and learn, and I learned from the whole visual staff.
And how crazy is our job, visual friends? Aaron Andrews mentioned this while we were chasing drunks across State College during the sanction rally and it has stuck with me: We have such an odd perspective on everything.
We are there for every major event, every social issue, and everything worth talking about. We follow and watch, silently, trying to create something visually appealing from real life. Our memories aren’t of the great concert, of the riots and demonstrations, or of the great events going around on campus. We remember the photos, the difficulties, and we see all of these things through a viewfinder. Late nights in Carnegie’s basement spent blasting music and editing photos, working hours in front of a computer after sprinting around trying to get our one perfect shot. But we prefer it that way, and it takes a special type of psychotic bastard to do that. And I love you all for it.
But now it’s time for goodbyes, and I am moving on beyond what I’ve done here. My only hope is that I meet and work with a group of people as great as the group I’ve had the privilege of working with for the past two years. I don’t know where I’ll be going, but I do know that without the blog, I wouldn’t even have the chance. So thank you, everyone I’ve ever bumped shoulders with, thank you everyone I’ve ever shared tips and camera gear with, thank you anyone who has ever helped me, and thank you to all my friends and family at Penn State. Without you, it could have never been so great. I’ll see you all in my nostalgia.