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Kade Heather | Vidette Sports Editor

As I walked home from my final work day at The Vidette Monday afternoon, my fellow sports editor, Jonathan Barlas and I sincerely discussed our past year and our near futures – which do not include sports.

We were fresh off our final podcast together, joined along with one of The Vidette’s new sports editors, Jake Sermersheim.

Right when I hit play to start recording, flashes of our first-ever podcast from the summer crossed my mind.

That seems to be a recurring action in my mind as my last week at Illinois State University passes.

On ‘first day’s,’ I seem to try and remember everything from it, then slowly try to remember each day that passes after. But the days always pile way too high that all of them blend together, up until all of a sudden, it’s over.

From my first-ever beat coverage as a sports reporter covering ISU women’s basketball, to the summer transition into sports editor, to the football beat, the men’s basketball beat, then baseball, it was a bit of a blur.

The time sure flew and I will miss every part of ISU, but I’m so grateful for having this seat even for one year.

When graduating from Saint Charles East High School, I knew I wanted to major in journalism, but I was hesitant. I attended Elgin Community College for one year and decided that was enough.

I didn’t choose to transfer to ISU for The Vidette or WZND or TV-10. I had no idea what any of those were. There wasn’t a main reason why I chose ISU. I figured I would find my way and things will work out for the best.

My first day of classes, I walked into a dark room in the corner of the Fell Hall basement for an online reporting and writing class with a professor named John Plevka.

We went over the syllabus, textbook, and everything expected in a first day, however, I realized the class was awfully similar to the journalism class I took at ECC.

‘I don’t need this, maybe I should drop the class?’ I thought to myself. Little did I know, I actually did need it because the credit from ECC didn’t directly transfer.

It took me awhile to become comfortable. I auditioned for the radio station, but was rejected. I contemplated transferring again a little while after.

During this, Plevka urged me to apply at The Vidette a couple times, but for some reason I didn’t budge.

The next semester, I had him again in the same room for a different class. Once (or twice) again, he told me to apply, so I did, and I was hired.

The next year, I also re-auditioned at WZND and was hired. I spent one year there as a news and sports reporter.

As I now look back on three years at ISU, I’m in a position I never imagined. ISU allowed me to gain lifelong friends and make lifelong memories while also gaining real experience.

The Vidette is a wonderful place to get real-world experience before actually entering the ‘real world,’ and I know it will continue to be that way.

Jonathan, as you shift into the editor in chief chair, I know The Vidette is in great hands. I know because of your work ethic and because of the past 12 months we’ve worked together as sports editors. You made my life remarkably easier.

I’m beyond thankful for my Vidette family and everyone I worked with that has helped guide me through these three years.

Thank you, JP, for recognizing me and for persistently pushing me to apply.

Thank you to my past sports editors for mentoring me, to each of my co-editors for all the silliness we’ve encountered and for being helpful and wonderful co-workers. Most importantly, thank you to my family for the constant love and support.

It’s hard to believe that in just three days, my room will be empty, my car will be full, and I’ll be walking across the stage at Redbird Arena.

However, I’m not done with school yet.

In August, I’ll be heading to the University of Illinois Springfield to begin a one-year master’s in Public Affairs Reporting, while working an internship at the Illinois State Capitol in the spring semester.

I’m leaving sports (for now, at least). I’m eager, nervous, yet confident because I know my experiences from ISU, and mainly The Vidette, have prepared me for this.

I don’t recall the exact moment I chose to attend ISU, but becoming a Redbird has easily been one of the best things to have happened to me.

KADE HEATHER is Sports Editor for The Vidette. He can be contacted at vidette_kfheat1@ilstu.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @kade_heather 

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