Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
By Christi Mathis, SIU Communications • May 21, 2024

It’s the 45th season for one of Southern Illinois’ favorite summer traditions – the Sunset Concert Series – and this year’s exciting...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Salukis split doubleheader, advance to first Regional final since 2003
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 18, 2024

The SIU softball team is headed to its second-ever NCAA Regional final after beating California in back-to-back days in the Baton Rouge Regional...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Groff twins, defense send SIU to NCAA regional semifinals
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 17, 2024

Defense was the name of the game Friday as the SIU softball team took down the Cal Bears in the first round of NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge,...

Letter from the Editor: To my college best friends

From+left+to+right%3A+Design+Chief+Peyton+Cook%2C+News+Editor+Joei+Younker%2C+Student+Managing+Editor+Brandyn+Wilcoxen%2C%0ASports+Editor+Jamilah+Lewis%2C+Photo+Editor+Lylee+Gibbs%2C+and+Editor-in-Chief+Cole+Daily+on+Feb.+6%2C+2024+in+Carbondale+Illinois.
From left to right: Design Chief Peyton Cook, News Editor Joei Younker, Student Managing Editor Brandyn Wilcoxen, Sports Editor Jamilah Lewis, Photo Editor Lylee Gibbs, and Editor-in-Chief Cole Daily on Feb. 6, 2024 in Carbondale Illinois.

In the past couple of years, I’ve been in my head about what I call the “rock band documentary” phenomenon. Essentially, it seems cliche for a rock band documentary to begin with a group of folks who met in college and started making music together.

Entering my senior year, I felt I still hadn’t met my metaphorical bandmates yet. Perhaps I hadn’t looked hard enough, or maybe I simply wasn’t going to find that kind of connection. After all, they only make documentaries on the bands that make it big.

Twelve months ago, I was beyond burned out. I was limping into the finish line, practically counting down the days until the end of my time as a major contributor at the Daily Egyptian. I had thrown my hat into the ring for Sports Editor, but even that felt like something I would coast on while I finished school and simply moved on with my life.

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In the year since then, I’ve had my job title change three times. I’ve worked in five different states. I’ve had two offers for full-time jobs in the industry.

But most importantly, I feel like I’ve finally met my bandmates.

There are several people at the Daily Egyptian without whom I would not have survived this past year. To try and name everyone who has contributed to my growth as a journalist and a person since I began this journey would take enough time for me to get my Master’s degree.

I’ve said a lot of goodbyes recently. I try to remember that it’s not goodbye, just see you soon. But I know I won’t be in the office every day anymore. I won’t be working late nights and weekends with the staff anymore. I won’t be hanging out in an office we have truly tried to make ours anymore. And that is difficult.

I don’t have to explain to anyone why graduating high school in May 2020 was a bad idea. Those months after March 16, 2020, were long and lonely. I had lost my chance to truly say goodbye to the life I had made in my hometown. Of course, I’ve had opportunities since then, but I will never get that high school senior year back.

Today, I get a chance to say goodbye on my own terms. I get a chance to thank everyone who has impacted me in any way. I feel like I’m leaving people worth missing, and that’s beautiful to me.

I really shouldn’t name names, because people are going to be left out. And the people I will list already know who they are. But I will do so anyway, because if I learned anything from how high school ended, it’s that I should take every opportunity to express to people how much they matter to me.

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Ryan Grieser: I feel like the people would want me to start with you. My bromate. The guy who would stick around in the office or let me sit in his car for hours talking about whatever I needed to without question. Most times it was about sports and the Salukis. Sometimes it was about the newsroom. Sometimes it was just about life. You saw my unhinged writer’s brain and showed that you were just as crazy as I am. You were often the first person I would go to with a pitch, and you motivated me to keep working towards leaving this place better than I found it. It’s hard to believe we only met last February because it feels like you’ve been there with me for this whole ride. Whether you stick around or inevitably move on to other pursuits, I know you’re always going to kill it.

Lylee Gibbs: Soon-to-be Editor-in-Chief. That back-and-forth from DuQuoin every single day shows your dedication to what you do before you even step into the office. You made those 12, 13, 14 hour days at Saluki Stadium worth the effort. I’ve literally worked in 10% of the U.S. states with you, and I could never ask for a better travel partner. We took perhaps the most difficult circumstances possible, rolled up our sleeves and did the dang thing week in and week out. You’ve also inspired me to be a better photographer than I ever thought I could be. I know the Daily Egyptian will be in great hands with you at the helm. Wherever you end up in your career will be very lucky to have you.

Peyton Cook: I’m not going to say the thing. You’ve earned so much more than that. I saw all of the work you put in every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, to make sure this paper prints every week without fail. Late nights, early mornings and everything in between. I’m so glad you’ve received even just a small portion of the praise you deserve for that. Beyond just your talents as Design Chief, you’ve also proved to be an entertaining storyteller. You’ve been a confidant, and you were willing to listen to me yap when frankly you should have gone home. Please get some sleep over the summer. You’ve more than earned it.

Jamilah Lewis: I’ve known you for the longest out of anyone at SIU. We’ve had many classes together. We’ve worked in the office together. We have the same major and minor. Everyone will tell you how talented you are as a writer and a storyteller, and I agree. But beyond that, I’m so thankful to have called you a friend. Just as I spent football season with Lylee, we spent several basketball games together this year and I enjoyed every minute of it. Simply put, you’re fun to be around. And you kicked everybody’s butt in the March Madness brackets, so you’ll always have that to hang over my head.

Dominique Martinez-Powell: I believe you and Jamilah are the last two standing from before I joined the DE in 2021. And yet, we didn’t really form a relationship until we were in Julia’s sports photo class together last fall. Like I said about Lylee, having you in that class inspired me to get better at what is now an indispensable skill in my repertoire. Not to mention our time in the office, where I always felt comfortable expressing myself. I’ll never forget that near all-nighter getting our presentations done to show off once the sun came up. Or the day we spent two states away on what I thought would be my last hurrah. I’m thankful for every conversation, every rant, every moment we’ve had together. Had I gone my whole tenure without it, it would have truly been a lost opportunity.

Joei Younker: There was a time when we had a Sports Editor, an Assistant Sports Editor, and me. That was the whole desk. Then you came in and made an immediate impression as someone who wasn’t afraid to share their opinions. Sometimes, they weren’t the nicest, but I learned through our two years working together that you’re just as willing to show your love, if not more so. Your evolution from sports to news and eventually becoming an editor in that time was tremendous, and showcased your ability to be a weapon that anybody would love to have on their staff. My only regret is we couldn’t get you on a football game, only because I know you would have taken to that just like you took to anything else we asked of you. Keep eating, serving, and most importantly, slaying.

Carly Gist and Annalise Schmidt: I’m not saying anything you’ve not already heard from me, but I’m still going to say it again. You came in as freshmen and absolutely killed it. Just a few months in, you were already two of the top writers on staff. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for both of you, at the Daily Egyptian and beyond. You both have extremely bright futures in whatever you choose to do, and I’m glad you’ve chosen the DE.

 

There are so many more I need to express my gratitude to. Dozens of people, past and present, who have helped me along the way. But it’s getting late, and I’ve spent enough late nights with this paper. It’s time for me to move on.

But I will never forget my time here. The Daily Egyptian will always have a special place in my heart, and it has been a joy spending my college life with all of you.

You are my bandmates. Now rock on.

Brandyn Wilcoxen

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