Farewell, The Reporter

Four years ago, my family dropped me off in my cap and gown at the curb of my highschool. I walked a few steps, solemnly grabbed my diploma, hopped back into my car and drove away. I never went back. 

I dreamt of the day I would graduate since I learned how to operate a remote. I watched dozens of Disney films, where graduation day felt more important than a wedding. I anticipated the day I’d toss my cap in the air and yell, “I did it!” 

I never predicted a global pandemic would snatch this moment away from me. And I was bitter. I’m still bitter. 

I’d be lying if I told you a big reason for pushing through university was to finally have my moment strutting down the stage and turning my tassel. 

University was a big wake-up call for me. I thought I knew who Mercedes Kauphusman was before walking through the doors of the Crawford dorm complex, but the truth is, I was just getting to know her. I had spent the majority of my life living in the worlds of other people, but for the first time ever, I scratched the surface of my own planet. 

My college experience has been anything but a nice and easy float down the lazy river. I’ve laughed until I cried, cried until I laughed, made mistakes for fun and learned from every mistake. I’ve experienced heartbreak — a lot, but I bounced back each time like a boomerang; I figured out my style, figured out my worth, I found my best friends for life and finally, I found a second home within our student newspaper: The MSU Reporter. 

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a storyteller. Once I figured out how to scribble words on paper, I wrote books. I wrote poems. I wrote in a diary. My collection of written words is an embarrassing, exhilarating array. I carried these letters on my back with nowhere to go until I found The Reporter the second semester of my junior year of college. 

Once the news crew decided they liked me enough, I became a part of something. I had never been a part of a team in the same way I was at The Reporter. I was cut from sports in school, my friends and I always had our own niches and I felt isolated in my passions. For the first time, I was surrounded by peers who shared the same interests I did and It helped me uncover bits of myself I didn’t see before. 

They liked me so much I was asked to be the Variety Editor the following year. It was a grueling, yet thrilling experience. It was anything but easy. Between balancing the stress of senior year and my own self-identity, keeping up to task with my position’s needs was hard. 

However, I showed up each and every day to be a part of the team. To see the smiles on my coworkers faces after our paper looked better each and every week. To embrace my closeted nerdy side in the comfort of people with the same traits. 

Despite every sour second, my experience was entirely worth it. And it feels really good to know I’m finally going to have my moment, free of virus, click-clacking down the stage in my tiny high heels and grabbing my silly diploma in a world I know I’m a part of. I’ll cherish it forever. 

Before signing off for good, I’d like to thank every human who became a part of my journey. My editorial staff was a miniature family in itself, and I’ll forever be so proud of each and every one of you and I know you’ll go on to do amazing things in your own worlds; for my writers, who will keep the variety section alive and thriving and all of the ad representatives who let me weasel in my little brother (the Nepo baby) to carry on my legacy.

I like to think I didn’t necessarily find the Reporter, but rather it found its way to me. Hopefully the next time you’ll see my name, It’ll be placed on some fancy byline and not on the county jail roster. Fingers crossed! 

Header Photo: From a young age, Mercedes was always typing away and telling stories. In the picture above, she was four years old playing with her fake computer preparing for her life at The Reporter. (Mercedes Kauphusman/The Reporter)

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

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