“We Are UC” highlights the people who thread the fabric of the Utica College community. These profiles are written from the perspective of the subjects themselves.
Story by Whitney Morris, photo provided by James McClendon
My name is James McClendon, and I am an alumni student from Poughkeepsie. I graduated in 2017 with a degree in sports communication. I started attending Utica College in 2006, and after stopping for a while to save up enough money to continue my education, I came back in 2015. Throughout my time here, I’ve met a lot of awesome people, and I remained active on campus.
The reason I decided to come to Utica College was the realization that attending college in New Jersey wasn’t the right fit for me. I also knew that I wanted to play basketball throughout my college career, so what drew me here was the basketball coach. He helped me in the entire enrollment process, and based off of that entire experience, I knew this was the school I wanted to attend.
While I attended UC, I joined the basketball team before becoming assistant basketball coach for 2 and a half years. At various different points throughout my time here, I was a staff writer, assistant news editor, editor in chief, and advertising manager for the school newspaper, The Tangerine.
Time management was difficult for me when I was in school because I knew there was no way I could just be a student. I had to pay for school, on top of car payments and other necessities, so I ended up getting a job as an overnight security guard at Mohawk Valley Community College. It was really difficult to manage everything at first, but eventually it all came into a rhythm and got easier.
I didn’t decide on the major I graduated in until I came back to school in 2015. Initially, I majored in marine biology. That was an interest that stemmed from when I was younger; whenever I was grounded, I was only allowed to watch Animal Planet, so I was watching it for months at a time! Years later, when I came to UC, I was taking all the science classes I needed until I reached organic chemistry and decided that I no longer wanted to keep my major. But, I knew I always liked sports, and I began to enjoy the way that media covers it. When I came back in 2015, I decided to switch over to sports communication and graduated with a degree.
I recently received a position as the sports editor at the Observer-Dispatch, where I’ve been interning. When I began interning with the OD, I knew it would be a great experience because within my first week I was able to write articles that would be published in the paper. I learned very quickly that they had a certain level of trust and respect for me. Now, as a sports editor I’ll be able to enhance my skills, grow and branch out. Three years ago, I set out on a goal to come back to school and to be at this point now where I have a job in my degree — and I’m doing a job I love which is a really good feeling.