College is what you make of it

Meranda Watling

If someone had told me three and a half years ago I’d be writing this column today, I would have laughed at them.

When I came to Kent State I was scared and overwhelmed. I didn’t know if I was ready to be away from my family, if I would make any friends or if I would be lost in a sea of 20,000 other students.

I didn’t even know if I really wanted to be a journalist.

As I found out, this uncertainty was a good thing. It made me challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, such as joining student media, especially the Stater.

Getting out of that comfort zone also was something I tried to do with the Stater this semester. Whether you noticed it or not, we made a lot of changes. We covered less of Lefton and more students. We began experimenting with podcasts and teaming up to cover stories with TV2. We switched up the paper’s design on a regular basis and posted breaking news and video on StaterOnline regularly.

We covered stories about people on campus and issues affecting each of our lives. We followed the midterm elections closely and watched as Ohio and the United States turned from red to blue.

Whether it was outrage over Facebook or graduation, we were right there with you, encouraging you to speak up and get involved.

The litmus test for an editor is whether she can look back and say she made a positive impact, that the paper is better for her having been editor. I can. Along with my staff, I worked hard every day to make the Stater interesting and informative, to make it worth your time.

I had an epiphany the other day. Somewhere between my 60-plus hour work weeks and my constant worrying about what comes next, I realized I had actually achieved everything I set out to at Kent State.

College is what you make of it. I can look back at the last three years, and especially at my editorship this semester, and say I made the most of every opportunity. I would not choose to do anything different.

At Kent State I have grown up, made lifelong friends and learned what I need to know to be a successful journalist. Most of those things were achieved in the same room where I’m writing this column and in the pages of this same newspaper.

This is my last day as editor of the Stater, my last week of college classes and the last time I will ever put a newspaper to bed. It’s a lot of lasts, but the Stater was only my beginning.

Although I don’t yet know where my life will take me in a month, much less a year or a decade, I do know where I have been. Thank you to every person — professors, family, friends — who helped me become the woman I am today. Thank you, Kent State.

Meranda Watling is a senior newspaper journalism major and editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].