I always felt like I joined The Daily Campus relatively late compared to a lot of other people I know within the organization.
I joined the Life section when I was a second-semester sophomore, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t quickly become more involved in the organization. When my junior year began, I became a copy editor and was promoted to staff writer, and as a senior, I was promoted again to senior staff writer.
I joined The Daily Campus during a very important semester for me. It was the semester when I left my STEM major and decided to major in English, which I had always loved (though I did end up returning to my STEM studies and graduating with a dual degree in English and math).
At that spring’s Involvement Fair, I was looking for a club or organization where I could write or do something else related to English. Though, the funny thing is, I was convinced I didn’t like to write. Yes, even though I didn’t like writing, I was looking for an organization where I could write.
Whenever people asked what my major was and I told them English, they would ask “Do you like to write?” I always replied, “Yeah, I guess,” though I always told myself I didn’t like writing because I enjoyed reading more.
I had a very narrow definition of writing for a long time: I always thought writers wrote novels or poems. Writers didn’t write articles or reviews. Working as a staff writer at a student newspaper did not make me a writer. Writing copy at my copywriting internship didn’t make me a writer. Writing countless journal entries, essays and reports in my English classes — and even a short textbook-style chapter as a project in one of my math classes — did not make me a writer.
All my professors’ praise on assignments? I’m not a writer. Winning an essay contest? No, not a writer. About 200 articles written over the course of the past two and a half years? That’s definitely a lot of writing for someone who’s not a writer.
It’s only recently that it has dawned on me that yes, I am a writer. And it’s funny, because a lot of people have noticed that about me before I noticed it myself. When my fifth grade teacher made an end-of-the-year PowerPoint presentation, she put a small image next to each students’ picture to represent their hobby or skill; mine was a pencil. One time when I was talking with my sophomore year English teacher, she encouraged me to study English and become a columnist.
Even (I should say obviously) my own mother knew. When she went to open house my senior year of high school, she met my physics teacher, who said “Stephanie’s really good at this, would she ever consider going into STEM in college?”
“No, she likes English,” my mom said. “She likes to write.”
And my mom (and Mrs. Harkins and Miss Pajak) was right.
I like to write. I am a writer.
I never thought I was a writer because “writer” seemed too formal and powerful a word for what I did. I always thought of myself as “someone who writes,” not an actual writer. But that was silly, since the definition of “writer” is essentially “someone who writes.”
And The Daily Campus has been majorly involved in demonstrating to myself that I am a writer, and that writers don’t need to write just novels or poetry, as I believed before. I think that I walked up to The Daily Campus’ booth at the Involvement Fair and came to that first Sunday meeting and covered a professor’s book reading because I needed to prove to myself that I was a writer. A part of me knew I liked it, was drawn to it and just needed to do it.
I am grateful I had the experience I did at The Daily Campus and that it allowed me to write about some cool events and meet some great people. I’m glad to be moving forward with all the experience has taught me and all the happy memories I have from it.
But most of all, I’m glad I finally realized: I am a writer.
Stephanie Santillo is an outgoing senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.