Campo: A Media Critic’s Journey through Suffolk

Compass’ Media Critic Ben gives his reflection of his time at SCCC


Benedicto Campo, Media Critic

My name is Benedicto Campo. However, everyone calls me Ben because it is a short and simple name to remember. I am the Media Critic for Compass News and write about movies, TV shows, and movies. I am also a Liberal Arts and Sciences Major studying Psychology and planning to continue my studies at Stony Brook University. This is my final semester at Suffolk after I started back in September 2020. During my time at Suffolk, I have had both fun and rough times that have helped me develop as a person. Whether it was making new friends, writing a review, or struggling with online homework, these moments have given me memories that I will either cherish or joke about in the years to come. As I head toward graduation, I would like to reflect on my Suffolk journey and how it helped me develop as a person.

 In 2020, I graduated from Sachem High School East. However, my graduation wasn’t like any other as the Covid-19 pandemic caused disruptions in our daily lives. Instead of going as an entire class, my class was split into different groups and I had to sit separately from my fellow graduates. Although I was happy to graduate, I still wish I graduated in the same group as my best friends or with teachers I had grown to love. 

During that summer, I began thinking about what my college years would look like, as I had to stay online for the last half of my senior year. I began to wonder if I would have to repeat this same process at Suffolk. 

When I found out I was staying online for the Fall 2020 semester, I was disappointed, because I wasn’t going to have that first-year college experience everyone else has. This meant no new friends, no in-person discussions with professors, not being able to join clubs, and constantly sitting on our chairs at home until our brains fried out. The online experience continued until the Fall semester of 2021, which was when I began to realize that online schooling wasn’t for me anymore. I was beginning to have feelings of boredom and lost social skills doing the same thing over and over again. Having those feelings made me realize that going to school in person was necessary for me to regain my social skills and be more active in a college environment.

Despite my online college years being boring for the most part, I still had positive experiences that helped me get by. I was still able to talk to my best friends and extended family through voice and video calls. Being able to talk to them was fun because I was able to see how they are doing and we did fun activities like watching movies and telling funny jokes. I also developed new hobbies during this time, like writing and martial arts. 

Writing has helped me a lot because I can express my thoughts and feelings in written form. It also helped me get all the negative thoughts and feelings out of my head and off my chest. Martial arts is another activity that has helped me because it helped me stay active and move around more, and learned life skills like learning to defend myself and exercising. I am glad I had these positive experiences because they helped me get through quarantine and prepare myself for my first in-person semester at Suffolk. 

In Spring 2022, I began my first in-person semester at Suffolk. Going back felt so surreal, because I found myself actually talking to people face to face and was walking in a school environment for the first time in a while. Even going to my first class felt weird, because I was sitting at a desk in a room filled with a professor and several students. I felt like I was Captain America waking up from the iceberg after several years. 

Despite all the weird feelings I felt, I was able to adjust to the in-person format after a few weeks. I was able to focus on my classes and meet new people along the way. However, one of the best things I ever did was join a club that would change my life forever. The club is called Compass News. 

I first was introduced to Compass during a club fair at the beginning of the semester. I signed up because I love writing, and I figured this would be a club that would help me strengthen my writing skills. When I went to the first meeting, I was welcomed with kindness and gratitude by Dr. Burns, the faculty advisor of the club. I was also introduced to Allison Luna and Delaney Hallahan, who served as the editor-in-chief and managing editor at the time. I immediately became friends with all of them because we had the same interests, which includes writing, movies, and telling funny jokes. I knew this was going to be the start of something awesome. 

I began to write about movies for Compass because I went on their website, and it had a lack of movie reviews. I wanted to fix this using my knowledge of pop culture and writing skills. The first review I wrote was for the movie “Uncharted”. Dr. Burns and the others liked my review, and I was proud of it too. I continued writing reviews for movies and shows like “The Book of Boba Fett”, “The Batman”, “Peacemaker”, and “Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness”. These reviews eventually ended up in the Compass newspaper, which is distributed twice per semester. People loved my reviews, and I was more than happy knowing people loved them. This helped me make new friends and pass the semester with flying colors. By the time the semester ended, I was happy knowing that my social skills and proactivity in a school environment have returned. I was also proud that I made new friends and had professors to talk to. However, I was sad that Ally and Delaney were leaving: Ally was headed off to Stony Brook while Delaney went to the Disney College program. I really miss them, and I hope to see them again one day.  

 In the Fall of 2022, I started my second in-person semester, which also serves as my final semester at Suffolk because I completed all of my credits and will go to Stony Brook in January 2023. Throughout this semester all I did was finish my last classes and transfer all my credits to Stony Brook. I also continued to write more reviews for Compass News. However, my experience in Compass this semester was way different than it was last time. This is because there was new leadership for Compass this semester. 

The new Editor-in-Chief was Leanne Pastore and the managing editor was Layne Groom, with Dr. Burns still the faculty advisor. The funny thing I want to mention is that Leanne knew my name because she had read my movie reviews and told me at the first meeting she was one of my biggest fans. We quickly became friends after this fun conversation. 

Although Compass started fun as per usual, things got even better due to the active energy brought by Leanne. Aside from writing reviews, I attended a public safety meeting, grabbed food, went to a Halloween party, and had other fun, chaotic-energy moments with Leanne and the other members of Compass. I got to do more things with Compass both inside and outside of the College campus. This made me really happy because I now had a college friend group I could hang out with most of the time and do fun activities with. Another good reason for having this friend group is because I was able to turn to them in times of need and when I needed help with an article. I could’ve asked for a better College friend group than the Compass crew. 

I continued to write reviews for “Black Adam”, “Multiversus”, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, and “Hocus Pocus 2”. I also got out of my comfort zone and wrote things that meant a lot to me in my life. I wrote about my first experience at New York Comic Con, a watchlist for studying and Christmas, my top 10 movies of 2022, and my favorite, a look into Kevin Conroy, who was the voice of Batman and passed away in November due to cancer. This is my favorite article I wrote for Compass because Batman means a lot to me and writing about how Kevin Conroy made the role special gave me closure for his passing. Dr. Burns even agreed with me and said that it was the best work I ever created and I couldn’t have agreed with him more. In the end, this semester turned out to be a perfect finish because I passed all my classes, wrote successful articles, and hung out with an awesome friend group.  

 Overall, I would say that I have come a very long way since 2020. Back then, I was stuck online without any social skills or other activities to do. All I did was do some schoolwork, watch movies, and feel bored. However, I told myself that I wasn’t going to put up with this anymore and that it was time for me to go in person next semester. When I went back in person, I gained back my social skills and became an active member of the college community. Some things that have helped me with this are my new skills in writing and martial arts. Meeting my new professors and making friends in person was another factor in helping me. I am very happy for meeting new professors and friends. However, the memory I will cherish the most is being a part of SCCC Compass News. This club allowed me to write and express myself without any mean or judgmental comments from anyone. I was welcomed with open arms the moment I walked into the newsroom. 

I made friends who share the same common interests, and finding those friends helped me open up and connect more with others. I was able to help my new friends at Compass by writing reviews for several movies, games, and shows, and writing these reviews was another way to share my interests with others around me. I am glad that I got to write them, and I would do it again any day of the week. 

I’m also glad that I went on this long journey from someone who was affected by the pandemic to becoming a stronger and better version of myself. This journey had its ups and downs, but in the end, I reached my goal: to regain social skills and be part of an active community again. 

I’d like to thank my family and my besties, who have shown me nonstop support and have loved me all the way through. I also would like to thank Compass News, who have shared my interests and given me a college family to be a part of. 

I would like to thank Dr. Burns, who I’ve come to see not only as the faculty advisor of the Compass but also as my mentor and third father figure I’ve come to care for. I also want to thank Leanne Pastore, who has provided nothing but all her heart and kindness to make Compass a fun place. I’ve come to see her not only as the editor-in-chief but also as a close friend and second mother figure I’ve also come to care for. I also would like to thank the other members of Compass, as well as other students and professors I’ve come to know. I am very grateful to have met all of you, and I will miss you in the years to come. I can’t wait to continue my studies at Stony Brook and use the skills I gained to continue being the best version of myself.