Weber: A Graduation Lookback on Being Both a Nursing Student & a Journalist


Staff Writer, Madison Weber ’23

As I sit to write this, I find myself reflecting on my last three years spent with the Cardinal Courier. What started as something to make friends and fill my time when Fisher’s campus was shut down from COVID-19 turned into something much more than I had bargained for. “I’ll try it for a semester,” I said at the beginning of my sophomore year – because why would I ever want to write for the school newspaper through nursing school? Well, obviously that didn’t go according to plan, because I’m sitting here writing a graduation “exit” piece. 


My time with the Courier has been one of immense personal and professional growth. It allowed me to escape the sometimes rigid confines of being a “nursing student.” It gave me peers who became close friends who I had nothing else in common with besides an appreciation for news. The Courier office became a place on campus where I would hang out between classes just because I wanted to – it was a home and safe space that allowed me to remember that I was more than a nursing student.


I remember times when the Courier had two to three consistent writers, and we would each write two to three pieces a week just to keep our content rolling. We would often joke that it was on “life support.” Now, I’m leaving behind a relatively robust group of talented writers and photographers. In the last year, we were able to get off of life support and things continue to look better and better for news on campus. 


My favorite pieces over the years would probably be my Rudy Giuliani series (I’m still mad they didn’t take away that degree), my hidden costs of nursing school piece, my reflection on the 2022 Campus Ministry service trip, my dive into Catholicism at Fisher, my bar review, and of course my Quesadilla Wednesday piece


Some lessons I learned with the Courier include (but are not limited to)

  • St. John Fisher is not perfect, and most (if not all) institutions aren’t either. Come into all situations with a healthy sense of skepticism. 
  • With persistence, you can belong anywhere that you put yourself. Even if that means being the only nurse with a bunch of communication students.
  • If it wouldn’t look good written down and published on the internet, you probably shouldn’t do or say it. 
  • If you write for the newspaper, you get to wear a “press pass” to campus and local events and it makes you feel really important.
  • Listen to what people are talking about – that’s what they care about. 
  • Never underestimate the power of good networking – my time with the Courier allowed me to meet people from all over Fisher that I would have never met otherwise. Send that follow-up email! 
  • Doing things, even if they seem irrelevant, just because you enjoy them is totally valid and should be encouraged more in our society. Regardless, you have no idea what skills they will give you that may be more applicable. If it sparks joy, it’s a good use of time. 
  • Take care of yourself – this is an ongoing process for me. Make time for what serves you, whether that’s the gym, a night out, or anything else.


As I move forward with my career and leave Fisher, I was originally thinking that I would be done with journalism and news. I’ll be an RN on the high and low-risk Labor and Delivery floor at Strong Memorial Hospital. However, as many people know, I spent a fair chunk of the last three years running social media for the Courier. I was, at times, unorthodox in my social media tactics as I have never taken a journalism or social media class at Fisher or elsewhere. When Strong sent out an email saying that they were looking for someone with a social media background to help run the socials for the OBGYN department – I sent an email saying “Hi, I’m not a nurse yet. But here’s my experience”. I got the position! Who knew that I would be the nurse with 3 years of social media experience? 


I plan on becoming a midwife and empowering women with the good healthcare they deserve and so often fail to receive. But I would love to continue writing in some way – from my blog to Strong’s social media, to unknown future prospects. News is important, and being the person to decide what gets published is an important job. 


I hope that anyone out there that thinks the Courier, or any club on campus, is not a place for them based on prior experience or their major or anything else reconsiders. If you show up, there will always be a place for you. Hard work and dedication with no experience are much more valuable than an expert who doesn’t want to contribute. 


At the end of all of my interviews, I always ask “Is there anything else you would like to add?” – I asked myself that when writing this and came up with this: Your undergraduate years are a time of such self-exploration. You spend it building the foundation of who you’re going to be as an adult. Try not to waste this. Try things, and when they get hard, remember why you’re doing them. I would often have to remind myself that it’s really not that deep. For me, when the Courier felt like too much, I remembered how much I wanted to write a senior exit piece. I want to thank Olivia Lopez and Khari Demos, and all of the editors I ever worked under, for putting up with me and my wacky schedule, my inability to take the Courier for credit, and my immense struggle with putting punctuation inside the quotation marks. They never questioned my abilities as a writer or social media manager, when they very well could have. And thank you to my family for always supporting my writing, especially my Grandma Nancy. 


I’d also like to thank the Media and Communication department for awarding me the Keough Founding Editors award, and for making me the first nursing student to ever receive it. I’m honored that I would even come up in that conversation and humbled that I would be the one to win.