Farewell Column: Learning storytelling and self-worth


During the last week of high school, I told an old friend my plans to dive into the field of journalism. He replied, “Really? You?”(Unsplash/Pixabay Creative Commons)

I always wanted to write.

This was the line that graced the opener of every one of my cover letters, scholarship applications and bios. It was true: from the moment my parents first gave me a feather and glitter-covered pink journal, my goals were to write often and well. While other kids asked Santa for toys for Christmas, I asked for the sets that let kids write their own story, then send it away to be made into a printed hardcover book. In art class, I didn’t like drawing pictures, and I was told incorporating words in different fonts like I wanted to do wasn’t really art.

But what would I write about?

I decided on nonfiction—journalism, because of the allure of the fast-paced, exciting life and the hope that my stories could truly impact people.

During the last week of high school, I told an old friend my plans to dive into the field of journalism. He replied, “Really? You?”

Maybe it seemed an odd fit. The girl who hated change, was reluctant to talk to new people and didn’t like speaking up in class.

Against all odds, including the ceaseless warnings of “You’ll never find a job!” I walked into The Daily Campus building full of hope and with a burning desire to please.

In The Daily Campus I found a community of people like me, people pulled in several ways, people trying to figure out what they were here for.

The journey was not without doubts, however. I found myself in my pre-journalism advisor’s office one day, asking how I could drop my journalism major and pick up a communication major. She brushed me off and told me to stay. She advised me to double major instead, saying I could always drop one later. I stayed, and I never regretted it.

It was around that time that I fell away from The Daily Campus. I instead chose an on-campus job with better pay, stable hours and easy, mindless work. This was my biggest regret.

After taking News Writing, “journalism boot camp,” as the department calls it, I was ready to come back to The Daily Campus. I learned how to write quickly and tightly, and the hours put into writing almost equaled the pay coming out of writing.

I split my time near evenly between the news and life sections, picking up stories ranging from coverage of town hall meetings, concerts, campus expansion, campus protests, obituaries, movie reviews, undergraduate student government, academics and more. I dipped my toes into everything imaginable, using the title of “student journalist” to learn about puppetry, fraternities, the environment, veterans, 3D printing, religion, travel, cooking and more.

By senior year I was fully committed, working copy editing shifts and design shifts. It’s a beautiful feeling to see a story go from an idea, to a draft, to a story on a website and in a newspaper, all while knowing you had a part in every step of that.

The Daily Campus taught me how to say “yes” and how to say “no.” It taught me how to write a publishable 500-word story in 20 minutes. It taught me how to sleep soundly knowing I thoroughly angered someone with that day’s issue. It taught me that one story can be the highlight of someone’s year. It taught me pride, confidence and self-worth. It taught me how to handle rejection and disappointment.

It taught me to be my own person, to speak up on issues I care about and to ask questions. I question myself, my peers and my university. I no longer accept things at face value. I want to know why.

So, after roughly 52,000 words, hundreds of emails, 130 stories, dozens of shifts, five positions, four years, two sections and one amazing newspaper, I’m done writing stories about UConn.

But I’ll never stop telling stories.

Claire Galvin is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus.   She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.

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