This year’s Editor-in-Chief came to Whittier with a passion for journalism and thus decided to join the Quaker Campus as an assistant editor for the Arts and Entertainment section. With the help of this proud English major and Sigma Tau Delta inductee, the Quaker Campus climbed to new heights. Amanda Blazey took time from her busy schedule to sit down and reflect on her time at Whittier College.
QC: What accomplishment from your four years here are you most proud of?
Blazey: I have to say the QC itself; it is a big accomplishment just watching the quality get much better. Just seeing where we started and watching the paper improve has been so rewarding even with this last issue. The system has gotten a lot better this year. We get out faster and stories come in, but more importantly, what we end up printing is the best that we can make it be.
That is the ideal and what we strive for. We definitely cover bigger news and was told that [the QC] actually used to be more of a tabloid, unfortunately. Hopefully, as the quality keeps improving, people will realize that this is the place to be and work, and what we are doing is meaningful. As our advisor Joe [Donnelly] said, we really are the “fighters for democracy.”
What did becoming Editor-in-Chief mean to you?
A lot of stress. It is very tiring, but it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I would not change it for anything. It is kind of like “trial by fire” because it is really stressful, but we really work together as a team. I have seen the paper and myself grow so much.
I said to myself as a first-year I could never be Editor-in-Chief. I went to a journalism conference as part of the QC my sophomore year and there were Editor-in-Chief type seminars. I said, “I do not need those, I am going to stay in Arts and Entertainment forever.” Yeah, no.
What led you to the QC your freshman year? Why did you stick with it?
When I came to Whittier, I thought I was going to be a journalist and I knew we did not have a Journalism major so I pursued an English major. So I said to myself, ‘I need to write,’ and I really loved Arts and Entertainment. That is what I was most drawn to. For my first article, I wrote about cupcakes. It took me a little while to feel part of the gang, but once I did, I felt like it was the right place for me.
The QC talks about Harry Potter houses a lot — what is yours and why?
I am a Ravenclaw … I was originally sorted into Slytherin, but I am a Ravenclaw because I value wisdom and I value seeking the answers that some people do not look for and just always trying to discover more about myself and about the world.
Who is your favorite professor and why?
Don’t ask me that, that’s so hard. I love Professor pAddy, Morris and Furman-Adams. I just love their enthusiasm. Each of them has their own thing they are passionate about. You have Furman-Adams who gets excited about Dante and Professor Morris who gets excited about Beowulf and makes happy faces at you when he thinks you have a good essay topic. You have pAddy who gets excited about just about everything and jumps around the room. I just love all the professors here.
As an English major, how do you feel the department has enriched you both personally and academically?
Every time I open a book, it’s like when you were little and you would open a storybook. You are not just discovering another world, but you are discovering part of yourself, and as you are reading, you learn so much about the world you do live in. I think that that is why the English department is so important. The faculty here gets it and the people I study with get it and I love that.
Tell us more about the English Honors Society Sigma Tau Delta and how you got involved there.
My mom was actually the first president of Sigma Tau Delta at Whittier College and so I always knew I wanted to be a member of Sigma Tau Delta. I was inducted my sophomore year and I was really excited. I served as Co-Activities Chair my junior year and I helped plan a Beowulf night, which was really exciting and fun.
Speaking of your mom, who also attended Whittier, and soon your sister, how does it feel having those family ties?
I feel it is a continuation of the family line because not only did my mom attend but also her sister. They were four years apart and now I’ve attended and my sister is attending and we are four years apart. It’s a nice family tradition, but I also like that each of the women in my family made sure to make their Whittier experience entirely their own.
That is why I am not trying to tell my sister to join QC or join this or that. I tell her to join whatever she feels will be the most beneficial to your Whittier experience because Whittier is a great place to just find your group and define who you are and I would not want to influence that. My mom was a Palmer; I tried it and it was not for me. So I found my own things and I want the same for my sister.
What was your favorite part of studying abroad your junior year in Italy?
My favorite part was probably the food. I stayed with a host family and my host grandma had the best cooking ever. It was so good. I miss that pasta. I still walk around Florence in my head sometimes because I have the city all mapped out. I just loved the art and the history.
What has your involvement in the Artorian Order of the Knights of Pendragon (AOKP) meant to you? What is your fantasy persona?
My fantasy persona is Dame Nessarose Canterlin Zandofar. I joined my freshman year and it meant a lot to me because that is where I found my geeks, my nerds. When you are little, you are allowed to play pretend. That is something you don’t do when you are an adult and so this is kind of the place to do that where you can create this whole other world, stories and adventures. It is a nice distraction and change from your normal life. It is like, ‘Oh, tomorrow I have a paper due, but for right now, I have to fight this dragon, excuse me.’
What’s next after Whittier?
I am looking into a multitude of things: marketing, public realtions, journalism, editing, special events planning. Basically anything that involves words and writing but also talking to people because I am a very social creature and I could not just live in a little cubicle. I would not be able to do it all by myself.
How have you personally grown in your time at Whittier?
I feel like I am less scared to be myself. Because when I got here, I was so worried about fitting in and being someone everyone would like, and now I am someone that I like a lot better. And hopefully, people like me a lot better, too, just for being me. I also feel like I am a lot more confident now, being editor-in-chief because I used to be very indecisive and you cannot be indecisive as Editor-in-Chief. You have to make a decision and stick with it; otherwise, no one is going to follow you. That is something I have taken from this experience and feel very proud of.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind? What is your biggest footprint during your time here?
My hope is that journalism will start to be more of a thing on campus because people can see how much of a difference it could make, especially in January and February when a student passed away and we had a lockdown, people were coming to us as their source of information to get a sense of context to everything that was going on. I want to see that continue and I want that to be the greatest footprint.