OPINION: Five things I learned in four years of college

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It is crazy to think that four years of working in the Collegian newsroom have come and gone. I’m certainly not saying the time flew by, but there seems to have been a lot packed into that time.

This is the last article I’m writing for the newspaper that taught me so much about being a journalist, so here are five things it taught me.

1. The world moves crazy fast

Especially in journalism, fads and hot topics tend to change in the blink of an eye. What was stressing out literally everyone in the newsroom one week is completely forgotten in the next. Every now and then, we’ll say, “Hey, remember when…” and cringe, but we’ll also laugh, because that is old news.

You might not think too much about Manhattan or Kansas State, but you see a whole new side of them working for the Collegian. There is something new every week, and I had the chance to see just how fast everything can happen.

2. People are mean, but you don’t have to be mean back

There are a few of you readers out there that don’t seem to think too highly of us at the Collegian. No matter what, though, none of us are taking your advice and quitting to go flip burgers (not that it’s a bad job).

There have been a number of times where I have wanted to go off and start screaming at the people determined to hate us no matter what we did. I actually printed off at least eight emails telling me I’m just horrible and shouldn’t be a journalist, all because of a review I wrote of a campus play. Some people will always be mean and will act like they can say whatever they want through social media or emails.

It would be nice to not have to deal with that kind of spite, but I’ve learned that none of those things matter. I’m proud of the work I and my colleagues have done with the Collegian.

3. You can see yourself changing the longer you stay here

My first article for the Collegian was published in September 2014, and it was a rough one. I can always look back at it, though, and see how much I have grown as a writer and journalist.

I have written everything from coffee reviews to breaking news, totaling more than 200 bylines. I worked multiple positions including staff writer, desk editor, social media manager and staff writer again. I can see just by looking at those first articles that I have improved tremendously and am a more confident writer for working as much as I did in this newsroom.

4. It is hard putting your work out there

Even worse than dealing with the hate is putting hours, days and sometimes weeks into a piece of work to be published and probably forgotten about in just a few days. It’s hard and draining, but in the best ways.

Being a journalist means not just hearing from the audience when they hate something. It is letting your editors practically dismantle the article you poured your blood, sweat and tears into and being happy about it. Being a journalist means everything you do is public and open for criticism. You just have to learn to love it.

5. You have to love it

Even if I was tired and frustrated sometimes, I have loved every minute of being in the Collegian newsroom. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t, because like I mentioned before, it’s hard and only worth it if it’s your passion. I always knew I would enjoy journalism, but I never realized how much it really is my passion until I joined this staff and struggled along with it. It’s hard, but it was the best part of my K-State experience.

Kelsey Kendall is a senior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Kelsey Kendall
Hi everyone! I'm a senior in journalism and cultural anthropology. My favorite things are storytelling, coffee and meeting new people. In that order.