Senior Column: How going to UConn shaped my journalism career

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The author, then and now.

Coming to the University of Connecticut as a transfer student from a community college was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. At 21, I felt like a freshman even though academically I was a junior. The scope of the campus was unlike anything I had seen before and the idea of a library being open past midnight was unheard of to me.

During the first two weeks of the 2019 fall semester, I did what any new student would do and attempted to socialize with other Huskies. Though my attempts were hit-or-miss, I did have the advantage of knowing a few people on campus prior to transferring. Originally, I was a communications major since I thought it would land me the most job opportunities when I graduated.

I then came to the realization a month into the semester, however, that communications was a boring major and that I needed something that would fit my interests. Thankfully, I had a talk with my friend and fellow community college transfer student Edison about switching majors. He suggested that I switch to journalism as I was not only writing for the Daily Campus that semester, but I had also worked with him as assistant editor at our community college newspaper.

The following semester, I would switch my major to journalism, and this would normally be the part of the article where I mention how life would get a lot easier after switching majors. It did not. The classes were hard as hell and there were many points where I considered dropping out of college. However, my passion for journalism prevented me from quitting and motivated me to become more involved with The Daily Campus.

During my senior year, I became fully invested in The Daily Campus since I knew being involved would improve my chances of landing a solid job. In addition to writing articles, I also became a designer for the newspaper, specifically the Life and News sections.

There were some nights that were more frustrating than others and spacing was always my Achilles’ heel, but my boss Alex was always there to help. She was patient with me when it came to re-learning InDesign or when I had trouble writing captions for photos. Alex was a core reason why The Daily Campus was my home on campus.

When it came to writing, I felt like Sisyphus pushing a boulder up a mountain. No matter how many edits or improvements I made to my writing, it seemed like I could not make any progress. Then I met my friend Sarah, who also writes for the newspaper. Reading her articles made me feel smarter since they featured vocabulary outside my own, and inspired me to write with better word choice in mind. Chatting with her outside of Life meetings about music, movies and philosophy also opened my mind to looking at reviews differently and ultimately structuring my articles differently. For that, I thank her a lot.

The most important lesson I learned while working at The Daily Campus and being a journalism student at UConn is to expect the unexpected. When it came to writing articles or designing news pages, there would always be some sort of last-minute change that would occur and that I would often have to adapt to.

A good example of this would be when I was working on my very first article during my first semester. Previously, I was used to having a couple of weeks to write an article for my community college newspaper. For The Daily Campus however, I was at a screening for the film “For Sama” and it turned out that I only had two hours to write the article. I panicked at first but then a friendly staff writer — later turned associate Life editor — Becca came and helped me write the article. The rest, they say, is history.

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