In late August of 2015 after my parents dropped off my things and told me to have fun and be safe before driving back to Saint Cloud, I stood there in my dorm room, sick to my stomach with anxiety and a head full of hefty expectations of what my college experience would be.
Now, a week prior to graduating I can confidently say that I don’t know exactly what my career path is going to be after I get that piece of paper in my hand, but I can say that I now know who I am and am proud of the person I have become here and a lot of that is because of the reporter and the friends I made along the way.
One of the best things to happen to me on this campus managed to occur within the first couple days of my freshman year and it happened out of pure luck. If I wasn’t assigned to the A4 level of the Crawford dormitory, I don’t think I would have finished my four years at MNSU.
Almost everyone on A4 knew no one and nearly everyone on that floor took it upon themselves to change that. I distinctly remember walking into the A4 lounge to a group of misfits, people that would have each been in a separate clich in high school.
Honestly I never thought I would be friends with these people because they didn’t look like the people I would have hung out with in high school and they come from completely different walks of life. However, every day I found myself in that lounge talking about absolutely nothing and absolutely everything at the same time.
I knew everyone’s name on my floor and had almost everyone’s phone number which is pretty impressive. We would spend the entire day in that lounge some of us would even sleep there. Everyone of the roommates I have had throughout college have been on that floor and I already know they are some of best friends I will have in my entire life.
Working at the MSU Reporter I had a very similar experience to the dorms. However, it took two long years of myself trying to imitate “Animal House” that was basically an extension of my teenage years void of all responsibilities. It wasn’t until I spent a few too many days nearly sleeping through my 2 p.m. class that I realized I needed to grow up and get involved in something bigger than myself.
A friend of a friend of a friend, Gabe Hewitt, just happened to be the Editor in Chief of the campus paper and apparently they were in need of an A&E writer. Before having to write one too many research papers I was obsessed with writing and with that and my obsession with movies writing for A&E was a perfect outlet for me to geek out. I remember the first article I wrote in the A&E section. It took me 4 hours of constantly rewriting and after it was published my roommates hung it on our fridge like proud parents.
The end of that year I was then asked if I wanted to be A&E editor by the current A&E editor at the time. Not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into I accepted. The first production day of the new editor staff I knewno one.
My desk was separated from the other two section editors Maddie Diemert and Kevin Korbel by a giant cubicle wall and it wasn’t until about the fourth week, when I was told I looked like Beaker from the muppets and for whatever reason given the nickname “Meep” by Kevin, that I started to think, “these guys are alright.”
It’s amazing how being in a small room for 16 plus hours a week with a group of people can change from the worst part of your week to the best part of your year. Along with the section editors came some new writers which started to sense the strong connection the editors had and later stopped by during production days. There are not enough words to describe how much I grew through the reporter both in my professional life and my personal life.
I will never forget Kevin playing his horrible music, Maddie and I bickering with each other to the point where the whole CSU could hear us shouting at each other, the blossoming of my amazing bromance with Mansoor Ahmad the web editor, or the office manager Jane Tastad being a second mother to us all.
College was not what I expected, it was not the best years of my life. In retrospect it is the stranges time of your life; everything is up in the air, you’re an adult but not really , you think you know what life has in store for you but not really.
The closest thing you can really describe it to is a combination between purgatory and Club Med. The only thing that is certain is the people you choose to spend this long strange trip with and that determines a lot about you.
My experience here shaped me into a person I am proud to say I am. While classes taught me a couple things it was the people I met along the way that pushed me and taught me some of the most valuable lessons that I wouldn’t find in a classroom, but I still found on a college campus.