Senior Column: How to succeed in a newspaper without being a journalism major

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Melissa Scrivani is the outgoing associate life editor of The Daily Campus.  Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus.

Melissa Scrivani is the outgoing associate life editor of The Daily Campus. Photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus.

When I arrived at UConn as a nervous but excited 17-year-old, I didn’t have much figured out. I was conflicted about what I wanted to major in, I didn’t really know how to get involved on campus and I had no idea what college would have in store for me. There was one thing I did know: I wanted to join the DC. I was involved with journalism in high school and knew I wanted to continue with it. Julia Mancini and I looked at The Daily Campus website together to see who we could get in contact with, and I immediately knew I wanted to email the Life editor and join the Life section. I attended my first meeting sometime in September 2016, my first article was coverage of an art exhibit that same week and the rest is history. Before I knew it, I was a staff writer, then a designer, then a copyeditor and finally the associate life editor. 

Now, as a nostalgic senior, I couldn’t be more thankful for everything The Daily Campus has given me. The opportunities to get out of my comfort zone, to grow as a writer and a leader, to meet people that would eventually become like family to me — it has been more meaningful than I can put into words.

Honestly, I’ve been thinking of this senior column since I first heard of them my freshman year. I never knew what angle I wanted to take: Funny or more serious? Light-hearted or deep? But after everything that has happened this semester and the fact that the end of my senior year was not what I had always expected it to be, I just want to express my gratitude to the organization I didn’t get to give a proper goodbye. 

I’m not a journalism major and had little experience with any actual AP Style writing before joining the DC. At my first meeting, I had never covered an event, had no idea what a budget was or what “Monday for Tuesday” meant. But it never mattered. What did matter was that I was interested in it and wanted to learn more. Everyone was so welcoming and showed me the ropes. My editors were patient with me and never made me feel like I didn’t know what was going on, even though I didn’t. It’s something extremely special about The Daily Campus. We welcome everyone, no matter what their experience level is, and what we value most is drive and effort.

The Daily Campus has been a constant throughout my college experience. It has provided me with countless opportunities to attend events on campus that I otherwise would never have heard about, to share my interests and my passions through my writing, to tap into my creativity and, most importantly, it has introduced me to the amazing people that make up the organization. What we accomplish daily is incredible. Everyone who is a part of the DC should be proud of that. The strict deadlines and the work we put into the paper everyday has pushed me to become more organized and efficient. 

The Life section, specifically, has always been a home to me. I have always been drawn to how diverse and creative the section can be, and I love how it gives writers the freedom to share their interests and give a voice to the UConn community. I always felt extremely welcome, and things only got better once I became an editor. Each Life writer has completely blown my expectations out of the water, and has made me incredibly proud. You each bring a unique voice to the section and are incredibly hard working. Each and every one of you mean a lot to me, and watching you all spread your wings and get super involved within the DC has been so heartwarming. Never stop pushing the envelope and raising the expectations of what you are all capable of. Life will forever be the best section, and we don’t need an award to prove it. 

To Julia, my partner in crime and the editor to my associate, I’m so proud of everything we have done with our section, and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else. You’ve been by my side throughout all of the ups and downs of college and I’m forever thankful to have had you there with me. UConn wouldn’t be the same without you and The Daily Campus certainly wouldn’t either. There’s a reason why we always win DC BFFs: You are much more to me than just my co-editor.

To Hollie and Becca, the future of the Life section, I can’t wait to see everything you accomplish. As much as I’m going to miss being an editor and being a part of this amazing organization, I know the section is in good hands and I couldn’t have picked two people better for the job. 

To everyone else at the DC, thank you for supporting me and helping me find my voice. Thank you for always being there and for making my job easy.

It’s hard to imagine my Sunday nights being free instead of packed with meetings and it’s sad to think I’ll never get to add another fun story idea to a Life budget, but I am forever thankful for everything The Daily Campus has given me, and I’m excited for my next chapter.

For anyone reading this that isn’t a senior, I also wanted to offer some advice. 

College is the last time in your life where there are endless possibilities waiting for you all in one place. Take advantage of it. Get as involved on campus as you can. Give back to the community and volunteer (I’m biased toward Big Brothers Big Sisters and HuskyTHON, but find whatever you are passionate about). Never stop meeting new people. Try new things, go to events you normally wouldn’t attend. Immerse yourself in other cultures and new experiences. Actually go to class, and learn as much as you possibly can. Go to Ted’s even when you feel like staying in, and go get that cheese slice at Sgt. Peps afterward. When you walk to class, take in the beauty of the campus and the sense of community. Never take your time at UConn for granted; it truly has been the best four years of my life. 


Melissa Scrivani is the outgoing associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.

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