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Signal alumni stresses open-mindedness post college

By Lysa Legros
Staff Writer

During his time at the College, Garrett Cecere was the editor-in-chief of The Signal during the Fall 2019 semester. After a semester of late nights, coffee runs and little sleep, Cecere completed his time as editor-in-chief. But he never stopped writing for The Signal while at the College, even while he had an internship with Newsomatic — a children’s news publication based in New York.

Since graduating from the College last spring, Cecere has been working at the Bridgewater Jewish Community Center, working as a high ropes course instructor during summer camps, and helping out in the off-season.

“[They’re] pretty good jobs; it’s not where I plan to build my career or anything,” he said. “But they’re good jobs to have while I’m looking at my career options.”

Although Cecere enrolled at the College to study communications, he found himself drawn to journalism, and ultimately decided to major in it. However, through his time taking journalism classes, he said that journalism became more of a challenge than something he genuinely enjoyed, although his time at The Signal and with the journalism department was “a tremendous experience.”

“While I was an editor, I started to take on the full responsibility and you know, I think that being the one person in charge is something that I kind of struggled with,” said Cecere. “It was a good experience overall.” 

Though he experienced doubts about his major, he proceeded to apply for an internship in order to complete his degree. His internship experience cemented his suspicions that journalism was not quite his path — and having to work from home during the pandemic only deepened that impression. 

“It was a great experience working for Newsomatic in New York, but it didn’t feel fulfilling,” he said. “I want to have a job where I can go in-person to work and I found especially with my internship, I just can’t sit at a computer for eight hours. That’s just not for me.” 

Although he is grateful for his experiences in and out of college, Cecere is looking to work in a different field than what he majored in, and is keeping his options open.

“When you graduate, it’s okay if you’re not exactly sure at 24 what you’re going to do for the rest of your life,” he said.

Through his time post-graduation, he said that he has grown comfortable with not knowing what the future holds. 

“I think what you really find in college is that your decisions are constantly changing,” Cecere said. “I thought I was going to be a writer and a journalist over a year ago. And then working at the JCC, maybe I can be a teacher.” 

Working with The Signal several semesters, Cecere has a lot of memories — his favorite being the articles he worked on and the infamous quote board.

As a managing editor, Cecere covered a protest at the College (Photo courtesy of Garrett Cecere).

“[The quote board] is something that only the editors will get or people who have been in the office will understand,” he said. “It is made up of those little spontaneous things people will say on production night and it’s just a funny thing, a lot of times it’s in-jokes, or a moment that we all share in laughter and then it just ends up on the board for all of us to see and have that shared memory of.”

He was also impressed by the people he had the opportunity to interview.

“Some of the things that come to mind are the Cub-Alt shows I would cover sometimes. Those were so much fun, to go there — you get to go there and listen to music, you get to talk to some great people,” Cecere said. “The musicians were always chill. That’s what I loved about it, you ask them for an interview and you might be a little nervous, but then you just sit down to talk with them and they’re just so chill.” 

Cecere reminisced in the interviews he shared while covering events for The Signal.

Cecere covered a forum titled “Mothers of the Movement,” (Photo courtesy of Garrett Cecere).

“One story I covered, there was a big forum where they invited the mother of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice to talk at a forum,” he said. “And to cover that, and to get so many different perspectives from their experience because they were part of the mothers of the movement. That was pretty extraordinary.”

A bittersweet memory at his time with The Signal involved staying up with the editorial staff on production nights.

“We worked so hard on production nights because we were there from five, six, maybe seven in the morning,” said Cecere. “The one thing I’ll say I won’t miss is having no sleep and then going to classes, which I did, on numerous occasions.”

His advice to students at the College is to “do your best and build a network,” to not overthink things and to consider long-term rather than short-term impacts.

“It’s important to realize that it’s only a semester, it’s only this one class, it’s temporary. It’s just this one thing you have to get through and then you’ll be done with it,” he said. “I focused a lot on my classes and I was doing a lot of work, but I wasn’t really reserving myself a lot of free time, so I definitely would have tried to reserve more time for free time and socializing, that’s the key thing to have a more fulfilling, genuine college experience.”

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