My Collegian career and other curiosities

The most important lesson I learned about journalism didn’t actually come from “The Collegian” (oops). It came from a girl I met during study abroad. Her name was Cassidy and she was spectacularly curious.

Not curious as in “strange,” but curious in that she wanted to know everything about everything. She would ask street vendors in Lima how to make the fried sweet potato doughnuts they were selling. She dove into literature about Peruvian politics and social dynamics with vigor. One time, we were on a weekend trip in a beach town, and she dragged me over to a group of men sitting at a dark storefront (to my horror and their bemusement) so we could ask what a certain Spanish word on a sign meant. (It turned out to be a word for the woven hair wraps that people get at the beach.)

That particular event makes for a fun memory of a vaguely embarrassing interaction, but it also made something click for me — Oh. THAT’S what I’ve been doing wrong. In my work for “The Collegian” and even just in my daily life, I wasn’t being nearly curious enough.

Great journalism is driven by curiosity, by a desire to know people, places and phenomena. It’s imbued with the need to seek things out, whether they be injustices, tragedies or sparks of happiness.

At a time in my life when I was burnt out by countless research papers and years of competitive, stressful schooling, “The Collegian” provided me with an opportunity to continue being curious, and I’m immensely grateful for that.

The number of people I’ve met, places I’ve seen and things I’ve learned during college that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t worked for the paper is ridiculous. This opportunity has made my life richer, and I hope it continues to enrich the lives of the talented editorial staff who are taking the helm next year.

TU is a great institution with a special community, and I’m proud to have spent my college career working for an organization that seeks to highlight the best of it and pushes fervently to improve the worst of it. I can’t begin to explain how important it is to have a publication on campus where students have a voice.

I’m also incredibly proud and grateful to have spent four years working with a staff of motivated, engaged, intelligent and good-humored people, many of whom have become some of my closest friends.

Shoutout to Kyle Walker and Conor Fellin for dragging me into editor apprenticeship, thereby launching one of the best decisions of my college career.

Thanks to Giselle Willis Cuauhtle for being my friend, unofficial mentor and official policer of em dashes and Oxford commas.

Thanks to Kayleigh Thesenvitz for being my partner in editorial shenanigans, investigative reporting and general ruckus-raising since freshman year.

A BIG thank you to “The Collegian” writers and editors, particularly the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 editorial staff, for being part of my favorite college experience and, most important, for doing great journalism.

And to next year’s writers: thanks in advance for all your hard work, and stay curious.

Post Author: Hannah Kloppenburg