COLUMN: Experience as a columnist offers valuable knowledge

Nedda Pourahmady

This semester has taught me some valuable lessons. I never thought I would learn so much about how to improve my writing, let alone how to strengthen my character.

During these past few months, I have had the opportunity to write about a vast array of topics such as online dating and human trafficking. Nevertheless, each piece I have written, whether praised or criticized, taught me how to improve my writing and uncovered what underlying faults I had.

My very first column, “Perspectives of a Persian,” brought my confidence level higher than it had ever been. All of my family and friends read the piece with enthusiasm as they could relate to most of what I was saying. However, once I received negative feedback via e-mail, my mood immediately changed.

One of the most vital lessons I learned being a columnist is not everyone is going to like, or agree with, ideas or thoughts I present. I also learned not to take these remarks so personally and to just stand firm with what I believe.

I have always been an extremely sensitive person. I must admit receiving all the negative criticisms and feedback was tremendously difficult for me. My underlying fault of insecurity surfaced throughout the semester as I received many harsh words and was told about my faults as a writer.

Being as spoiled as I am, I was definitely not prepared to hear these remarks. I think my biggest mistake is how I would let the positive feedback get too much to my head, while not paying enough attention to some of the criticism.

As you might have already guessed, yet another lesson was learned from these experiences. I learned you have to take the good in with the bad. Sometimes, negative feedback may actually be beneficial. By taking some advice I received from harsh criticisms, I was actually able to improve upon my writing.

Once I learned not to take criticisms to heart, I was able to focus more on producing quality writing. I would have to say the hardest part of being a columnist was thinking of topics that would capture the interests of the entire Kent State community. I wanted anyone who picked up a newspaper to be interested in reading what I had to say.

Of course, I cannot forget the dreaded 550 word rule. As I sat down to write columns, many times I would experience writer’s block. I mean, I would have the idea so well planned out inside my head, yet for some reason it became increasingly harder to fit those thoughts into 550 words. Other times, I would gaze at the computer screen, not knowing how in the world I would fill all that blank space.

Nevertheless, being a columnist was an extremely valuable experience for me. As I aspire to someday work for a prestigious newspaper, I can always carry this opportunity with me.

Never did I imagine working for a college publication. I will never forget how I used to sit in my room as a child writing endless stories and pretending to broadcast them to the world. I hope this experience will open doors for me in the future.

Nedda Pourahmady is a junior newspaper journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].