Nightengale: I found the new me


Mia Hennen

News Editor Julia Nightengale gets contact info from an Andover community member on Saturday, April 30. The City of Andover suffered an EF-3 tornado the day before.

After two years of writing for The Sunflower, it feels bizarre to write about the one topic I’ve never covered: myself.

I’ve worked for The Sunflower for two years, after transferring from Butler Community College where I worked on The Grizzly magazine for two years.  When I started contemplating applying to The Sunflower, I was so nervous that I wasn’t going to be good enough.

But I was.  My first year, my position was copy editor, and I also reported for the news section.  I quickly joined forces with the current editor-in-chief to double-team the news section, due to our very small staff that year.  

My second year I became the news editor.  It was daunting, and the idea of even having a story on the front page was almost unimaginable.

For me, my time on The Sunflower was a big part of my growth journey.  I never could have imagined having an editor position for a state college, after coming from a town where I graduated with 18 people in my class.  

My identity, after four years of student journalism, is deeply rooted in being a journalist.  Long hours spent writing, running around campus with a notepad in my hand and late production nights are a huge part of my college career.  Leaving, quite honestly, is giving me some intense fear of missing out. 

As a social work major, working for the paper meant advocating for the student body.  From covering valuable resources on campus to highlighting diversity and inclusion events, I have always been proud of my work.

Transferring to Wichita State in the middle of COVID-19 was not easy.  Being a part of The Sunflower made it so much easier, because I was able to connect with students on staff as well as stay engaged with what was happening on campus.

The bond that I share with staff members will always be dear to my heart, and I couldn’t have asked for better people to work alongside.  Every single person brings their own individual talent to our national award-winning paper.

It was an honor to hold the position of news editor on campus, in a long line of past and future news editors.  I have been able to meet so many diverse students, personally talk to the president and higher-up faculty members and get so many other opportunities that I would have never had just as a “regular student”.

I hope to find a career path that melds my social work and journalism skills into one.  Though the pieces might not fit together just yet, I know I will find what I am looking for.

I have learned so many lessons.  No matter what, It is always important to stay engaged with the community around you and to not always trust that the “higher-ups” are doing things in your best interest.  Journalism only seeks the truth, good or bad.

 For every student, please read our paper; our content is made for you.  Reach out to us if there is something that we are not covering, or write a letter to the editor.    

I encourage any student at WSU to find a way that they enjoy to become engaged on campus.  College is the time to try new things, so don’t shy away from the opportunity to completely reinvent yourself.  Growth is not supposed to be comfortable.