Searching for the words

Kelly Mills

It’s been four years since my high school graduation. I’ve been at the Stater nine semesters if you count the summer I held down three positions on the paper and a full-time job.

I’ve seen seven semesters’ worth of senior columns printed on the pages of this newspaper. Some people were humorous, some reflective, some full of advice. All of those senior columns inspired me each semester, and I couldn’t wait to write my retrospective on my experience.

But here I am, and I struggled for a topic or even a direction. I tend to fall flat on my face when trying to write humor. I hate getting overly sappy. And advice is something I have more of than 550 words can contain. Instead, I’ll talk about what I learned in college.

I learned what it is to be a journalist. To be honest, as great as my journalism professors were, their classes could not compare to the experience I got right here in the newsroom. I learned that I can, in fact, be happy in my job because I am now. To my professors and coworkers, past and present, thank you for teaching me who I am.

I learned my parents will always be there for me. They have always been there for me, and they never fail to sacrifice anything so that I can be happy. They love me no matter what, and that feeling is mutual. Words can never say how much I love you, Mom and Dad.

I learned that my brother, Bryan, is gone but will never be forgotten. I’ve also learned that it has been five years and people still feel the need to sympathize as if it was yesterday. I suppose that will always be the case. Nobody expects to lose a brother at 17. I will always love and miss my brother.

I learned that those people who say men will come and go but your friends will always be there lied. Friends come and go, too. Only those friends who are on a whole different level can stay around. Kirsten, Andrea, Sam and Kim, I love you all.

I learned that men will, however, come and go. But that’s OK because you can learn something from each of them. Coming fresh off a breakup, I can’t say I’ve ever regretted a single relationship. You guys know who you are, you always have a place in my heart.

I learned I can’t rely on anyone but myself. Other people are there to help me, but only I can be strong for myself, only I can make my decisions and only I can take care of myself. Not to brag, but I am proud of myself.

For the nights I cried over one thing or another, I wouldn’t change it because I’m a better person for it all. For all the days I smiled, I’ll remember fondly a university and a newspaper that gave me the tools I need to be myself.

I can only hope that I have sparked in your head that momentary thought about the things and the people who are important to you. Don’t ever forget them.

Kelly Mills is a senior newspaper journalism major and news editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at