Graduating brings out my sappy side

Just like that, my time at The Sunflower has come to a close after more than two years working here.

When I first joined the newspaper’s staff, I was just a shy kid — I knew absolutely nothing about journalism (even though it was my major), but the editor-in-chief at the time took a chance on me anyway and hired me as a copy editor. The staff welcomed me with open arms, and after I copy edited for a while, they subtly encouraged me to start reporting. By subtly, I mean they asked nearly every day I was in the newsroom if I could take this story or that story.  

When I finally put my name down for one, it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I learned how to find sources. I learned what kinds of questions I should ask and how to phrase them. I think the best word to describe what I learned is “communication.”

Communication (with a journalism emphasis) is, after all, what I’m getting that diploma for later this month. But that diploma isn’t just made up of classes, although those I’ve taken at Wichita State have taught me loads. That diploma brings together my schooling, my internships and my experience at The Sunflower.

I didn’t just learn how to talk to sources or write news stories. Instead of being that shy kid who didn’t know how to have more than a five-minute conversation with people, I became friends with the newspaper staff and my classmates, and I learned that the best talks can start with a simple, “Hey, what’s up?” Newsroom and hallway conversations around campus are things I look forward to, and I know I’ll miss them now that I’m done with school.

Working at The Sunflower has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I know it’s completely changed who I am in so many ways. Because of The Sunflower, I got to know WSU in a more personal way than some students. I love this university with all my heart, and I’ll forever be a proud Shocker.

A huge thanks goes out to the former and current staff members who have been the best coworkers and friends during this crazy college ride. Thank you for teaching me nearly everything I know about journalism and for showing me so much about life. You guys are going to do great things.

Additionally, I’m grateful to God, my family, non-Sunflower friends, supervisors and faculty members who influenced me and helped me through my time at WSU. I’m so thankful for your presence in my life and couldn’t have done it without you!