Editor in Chief
When I first got to college, much like every other 18-year-old kid, I had very few friends and very few brain cells to know what was actually going on around me. I drifted through my first year a bit aimlessly, knowing I wanted to major in English, but not knowing what I wanted to do with it, knowing I wanted friends, but not knowing who I wanted to hang out with… knowing I wanted to finish university as fast as I could, so I could get the hell out of Mankato and get a “big-girl-job”.
There were many times I felt lost and alone because of this. It felt like I was never going to find a place for myself in college, except wherever my boyfriend was. This only made me want to finish my classes faster. College felt like it would never end, if this was all it was going to be.
Finally, I decided I need to push myself out of my comfort zone. In my second year, I joined a few organizations on campus, and the Reporter was the one I stuck with— and mostly because it paid to be a writer. It was the first and only job I liked enough that made me want more and more work. I asked for as many assignments as I could handle and wrote every single day. Every time an article of mine was published in the Reporter, I took a few copies of the paper and made sure my mom posted them on her Facebook page. I was incredibly proud of myself for getting published somewhere, even it was a small, student-run newspaper. (I’m fairly certain I still have every single copy of the Reporter that held one of my articles.)
Of course, there were some stories I was less than excited to be assigned, and quite a few of them that probably should have been looked over more than once, but I had never enjoyed myself more. And yet, there was still something missing.
As a writer, I didn’t find myself visiting the Reporter office as much as I should have been. I felt quite fine going off on my own, finishing my assignments without much help or collaboration, so I never thought I would enjoy being the News Editor as much as I did. I was under the impression that I’d finish my work before 8pm and go home, with a few hours left to myself. That was what I was hoping for, anyway. You could imagine my surprise when what happened was the exact opposite. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Being in that office for 8+ hours, even after finishing a full day of classes, could only be described as hell on earth. I screamed more words of frustration at my desk than I ever had anywhere else in my life, felt exhausted almost every morning after a production day. And it was entirely worth it. That chunk that had been missing from my life was slowly filling itself with the other screaming, exhausted, passionate people I found working alongside me.
I don’t think any of us at the Reporter expected to be friends. But I guess the people you stay up until 4 a.m. with, rushing to finish a magazine no one asked for, are the ones you can’t help but become close with. Who else is going to help you find a place to pee when the university is closed up for the night or let you microwave chicken in their microwave at 1 a.m.? Who else is going to drive you home or scream in the parking lot with you or listen to the complaints about your crappy boss or type out a 600-word article at 10 p.m. when you need to fill space?
No one outside the Reporter office could know what it’s like to work there. There was no one else who could truly experience the bad or the good. And the good moments greatly out-weighed the bad. Because at the same time that we were losing our minds, we were creating a publication we were proud of and building friendships that will likely last outside of our college careers.
And now, as my position of Editor in Chief is coming to a close, I can say safely that my undergrad experience ended as one to be remembered, one where I never felt alone again and finally liked being around people more often than not… it just took a while to find them.
Without the Reporter crew, or our office mom, Jane, I wouldn’t be looking back so fondly on the past three years. There were times when the worst moments weren’t always complaining, but bigger things, like where we were getting money for the rest of the school year. Or how we would fundraise so our students could still get paid, how we could scrounge enough donations to fill a large debt. But even those times weren’t always so tough. The support we gave and received from each other held us upright. For that, and for the friends I’ve made, I will forever be grateful to be a part of the MSU Reporter.
I was hoping for this to be published in a physical copy, but with these strange times, I am just thankful I have a nice enough Web Editor who will put it online for me.
Header photo: Madison Diemert recalls her time at The Reporter while talking to a group of friends at the house she was renting for the academic year May 2, 2020 in Mankato, Minn. (Mansoor Ahmad/MSU Reporter)