I Still Have an Opinion

Maybe this is cheesy, but I really wanted to reflect back on my semester, particularly on my time as the opinion section editor of my college newspaper. Because boy, did I enjoy it. Does it make me sound really bitter if I say I really enjoy criticizing things? It’s just my instinct.

Besides that, I loved filling a type of leadership position that I felt very comfortable doing. Of course, along the way I’ve had some learning opportunities as well. Before this semester, I had never used any Adobe programs, and here I am, downloading them on my own computer to use. It usually doesn’t take me too long to pick up new skills, and this was no exception.

I also enjoyed learning more about the newspaper business in general. This was my first professional-type role in print media. I had been an editor-in-chief in high school, but that was basically me putting together an entire amateur newspaper by myself. This time around, I had several people working under me, using me as a resource to learn more about opinion writing and everything involved. That’s a lot of pressure. But I brought them cupcakes and cookies sometimes, so that eases the tension, right?

Of course, I had to deal with a few incidents where dealing with people and certain preferences came into play, which I was fully expecting. Not that it made it easier or made me less bitter afterwards, but I used them as chances to learn. I felt like they made me a better leader in the end in any position I might find myself in the future. It’s always a skill I can work on, especially when I don’t know how to talk loudly and get anxious around people. Whenever I was low on material a certain week, I learned to adapt and make it work, and it always turned out fine.

I hope I could be of some assistance to my columnists and cartoonists. I was fortunate to come across some very talented individuals. They probably inspired me more than the vice versa, which I’m completely okay with. I don’t see myself as somebody particularly inspiring or memorable, but I want people to feel comfortable to follow what they’re interested in and find their full potential. I always lean toward helping others over myself. INFJ instincts.

And the people I did work with, as columnists or other staff members, were great people.

In all honesty, I loved the position, the atmosphere, everything else. I’m still somebody who will never fully grasp a love for hard news reporting. I feel much more at home here, talking about and criticizing whatever I want and maintaining that voice and style I know best. In an actual publication, there is some filtering of those words, but on here? It can be a free-for-all. Not that I say anything completely controversial, but having that independence to work when I want to and have others openly encouraging me to be more sassy is awesome.

The setting in general was perfect, with most of my work being on my own time and working from wherever I was at. I only had to go into an actual office one day a week to work and another day to meet as a full group for a few minutes. I could still write whenever the inspiration came rather than forcing myself to methodically work every single day for a certain amount of time and expect myself to not burn out.

I know the person taking my position over next semester will do great, and that she’ll be able to learn a lot from the experience, too. I have the worries of others doing better than I did and the staff not wanting me back next fall, but I just need to chill sometimes. I plan to continue writing columns at least while I’m gone, so my criticism certainly isn’t going anywhere.

After different experiences working at different places, it gives me hope to know that there really is some sort of career out there I can fill and feel passionate about. I only have 3 semesters left of undergrad which is a tad frightening, and I still don’t have a huge pull toward any particular path. I trust that will come with time, and especially after doing something I really do enjoy, my trust just increases. Maybe I’ll go into print journalism, maybe publishing, maybe just free-lance work or somehow making blogging work or writing my own creative work to publish. I really have no idea, but I look forward to see where life takes me.

And in the fall, if my newspaper would take me back as opinion editor, that’d be swell. Beyond just having a fancy title, I have a position that might not be the most prestigious in the journalism world, but it’s a place that I am passionate about doing. And at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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