Senior Column: Always turn back around

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(Image provided by writer)

At my first Involvement Fair as a freshman, I walked through lines and lines of tables, blindly writing my name down on contact sheets for clubs I knew I would probably never join. When I saw the Daily Campus, I thought about how cool it would be to write for the school newspaper, and how it might satisfy my desire for the kind of writing that my psychology classes didn’t allow for. It would be a perfect fit.

And so naturally, I continued down Fairfield Way, consciously walking right by that table.

As my freshman-self often did, I tried talking myself out of it. I told myself I wasn’t good at interviews, I had no experience in journalism, I wouldn’t know anyone and it was too late for me to turn back now since the people at the table probably already saw me walk by. Though it’s easier for me to fully realize now, my insecurities about myself back then often got in my head and wouldn’t let me pursue things that were out of my comfort zone. I was somehow safer that way. But for some reason, I recognized this weakness in myself as I passed that table, and something told me I would regret never getting the chance to know if this was for me, and to turn back around. I awkwardly turned back, still feeling anxious and stupid, and asked what it was like to work at the Daily Campus; and I remember being handed a list of meeting times. I sheepishly attended my first news section meeting at 6 p.m. that following Sunday and took on my first assignment – this would be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I started writing as a Campus Correspondent, then a Staff Writer, Senior Staff Writer and became Associate News Editor my junior year. I also worked as a Copy Editor and a front desk receptionist during my sophomore year, which helped me understand the logistics, production and business sides of running the paper. As a non-journalism major, the Daily Campus gave me the chance to explore something that I wouldn’t otherwise have experience in. As a writer, I learned effective interviewing, reporting and AP style. As an editor, I learned how to manage a small staff and the section’s content on a daily basis. That seemed like enough.

When applications came out for Editor-in-Chief (EIC), I had absolutely no intention of applying. I had finally become comfortable with my position as Associate News Editor and was nervous enough about a seemingly natural progression up to News Editor for my senior year. Though I was absolutely in love with all of the Daily Campus, I felt comfortable managing my small news staff. I didn’t think I could be a leader to over 100 members, the overseer and the face of the entire newspaper. I didn’t think I was confident or qualified enough to manage so many people and so many things, and so EIC was not ever on my radar (the theme of self-deprecation continues). I had gotten very close with the previous EIC, and she tried countering all of these insecurities, trying to convince me to at least submit a letter of intent – I nodded, and quietly decided to just let the deadline pass. I probably would have never reconsidered if she didn’t text me on the day letters were due. Again, for some reason, I took the plunge. I turned back around. And thus, came THE BEST decision I’ve ever made, one that would quite honestly change my life.

It was one thing to muster up the courage to apply for EIC; it was another to actually get the position. I was pretty terrified, and all my insecurities were still there, if not heightened. A lot of the current members graduated before I took over, so I had a brand-new staff that didn’t know each other, as well as three officers I was supposed to work with, all of whom I didn’t really know – and it was up to me to somehow facilitate all these relationships while also making sure operations and content ran smoothly. I realized what I was up against, with big shoes to fill from the previous EIC and a lot of people suddenly counting on me. There was definitely a learning curve at first and I was thrown right in – I didn’t really have time to think about how nervous I was – but the nerves didn’t last long, anyway. This year has been a wild ride in the greatest possible way. All of these strangers quickly became my best friends – family, really – working hard to help the paper achieve new heights and creating an accepting environment that made everyone feel so welcome. It was the first time I felt I could be unapologetically myself in such a large group. This position has not only provided me with a professional experience, leadership skills and confidence, but so much fun, memories and love. The Daily Campus and all of the people I’ve worked with helped me come into my own, and I could not be more thankful. Though I will miss this paper and these people so much, I am super excited to see what they do in the future, and there’s no doubt I’ll be back to visit. For the Daily Campus and because of the Daily Campus, I’ll always turn back around.


Molly Stadnicki is the outgoing editor in chief for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu.

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