Dare to try something new

Kiera Manion-Fischer

On the first day of freshman year, I somehow worked up the courage to walk into the Daily Kent Stater newsroom in Taylor Hall, where I stood on the threshold, transfixed.

People seemed to be enjoying themselves. They were talking, laughing. They looked much older than me. Someone finally saw me standing there and asked what I wanted.

“I want to work here,” I whispered.

He directed me to the editor’s office in the back. No one looked up as I passed students at rows of computers, typing the week’s stories.

There was no turning back. I had to go in. Without looking her in the eye, I introduced myself and told her what I had come for.

“What do you want to do?” she asked. I wanted to be a reporter.

To tell you the truth, I hadn’t thought it through. My idea of a reporter was a stereotype: Reporters were people who had fun, smart alecks who always had a perfect comeback ready. They wrote occasional hard-hitting, Pulitzer-winning stories and made it look easy. They were everything I was not.

I didn’t think about what student reporters actually did – calling people up, walking into offices and asking questions. Starting conversations with random students. Transcribing every word of a quote. Processing complex and often confusing information. Dealing with the anxiety of an unreturned phone call, an approaching deadline.

I didn’t think about how maybe, if I was afraid to walk into the newsroom, I would be even more afraid walking into every interview.

The editor handed me a sheet of paper and told me to write down my name, e-mail address and what I wanted to do. I wrote the information at the bottom of a long list. She said she’d get back to me. I didn’t believe her.

She did. Editors can’t lie.

At first, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know the first thing about how to approach a news story. I was afraid to call people on the phone. I had nightmares about spelling and grammar mistakes.

But I stayed for all of freshman year. I couldn’t imagine quitting. Wasn’t this my dream? I even worked over the summer.

These days, I’m excited to walk into interviews. I find it difficult to leave the newsroom at the end of the day. The Stater consumes my life and soul, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every day, I still overcome a little fear, but it’s getting easier and easier. I love what I do, but I still have yet to master the perfect comeback.

If you want to try something new, overcoming that first twinge of fear and uncertainty can make all the difference. It doesn’t matter what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what it is yet. College is a time to try new things and develop new interests. Don’t be afraid to get involved early. Find out if you like it, and if you don’t, you can always quit. Just have fun in college.

Kiera Manion-Fischer is a sophomore newspaper journalism and political science major and a principal reporter for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].