Nothing to hide behind when writing your opinion

Jen Steer

As I sat down to write my first column of my college career, I found myself very self-conscious. Nervousness isn’t a part of my character, even though I’ve done some things that would make the average person a little more than just worried. I kept thinking that my writing would be out there for anyone to read and that, unlike most forms of journalism, a column leaves the writer out there on her own. There is nothing for a writer to hide behind when it comes to opinion.

But this got me thinking again, and when I start thinking too much, I usually do something stupid. I hope this will be the exception to that rule. However, will people actually take the time to read this? What makes my opinion not only worth publishing, but worth reading?

I mean, I’m just another student at Kent State, right? That’s nothing special. After I got done insulting myself for about an hour, I remembered what I always considered before writing a column in high school: if I could make one person think about what I was saying for just one moment, then I served my purpose. This will have to be my mentality now.

I also think of this as a chance to redeem myself from my high school days as a columnist. My column was called “Steering Clear,” a cheesy play on words with my last name that did not reflect my subject matter at all. It was ironic because I didn’t really “steer clear” of anything, I actually caused quite a stir on more than one occasion. So I have decided that this time around I won’t intentionally try to piss people off, but I will try to make people think.

But what do I want people to think about? People should be thinking about stuff that matters, not reading 550 words about what I ate for dinner last night. And although my dinner is often times the highlight of my day, it does not deserve being broadcasted to readers.

The best way to decide what to write about will be for me to establish a panel that will help me pick out topics to write about. I will assemble a crack team. In the movies, the leader of the group always talks about assembling a “crack team,” but I don’t know what a “crack team” is supposed to be. I guess that whole idea is a bad one too.

Maybe I have become too worried about what people will think of me. That’s just not my style. I mean since when does Jen Steer care about what other people think? Look what this column has done to my mental state, and this is just my first piece. What am I going to be like by the end of the semester? A boneless blob of nothing that lives for appeasing the entire student population of Kent State University?

All right, I have taken this all too far and over thought everything possible when it comes to writing a column. I just need to relax and see what happens next time I go to write. It can’t be this draining every time I sit down in front of computer. I have to stop making things harder than they really are.

Jen Steer is a sophomore journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].