Lyons: The end of the road


Courtesy of Rachel Lyons

Rachel Lyons has been a reporter for The Sunflower for the past two years. Lyons graduated with a bachelors degree in general business and a minor in supply chain management.

I guess this is it. This is the end of not only my time at The Sunflower and Wichita State but my time as an accidental journalist and undergraduate student. The end of an era that is nothing I could have ever imagined, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I think the logical place to start is how I became an accidental journalist- because I know what you’re thinking, and your confusion is very much justified. I moved into the dorms at Hutchinson Community College the day after my 18th birthday and Less than a month later, I met Brad Hallier, the adviser of The Collegian at Hutchinson Community College at an activities fair.  I tried the whole “I have no clue what I’m doing because I have zero experience thing and I am glad it didn’t work.

Most of what I know about journalism comes from what I learned from Hallier at The Collegian.  I didn’t have the privilege of going to a large high school with a journalism program. I graduated from a 1A  high school with 19 other kids. We had a yearbook class, but aside from some informal exposure to journalism in English class, we didn’t have a student newspaper. 

Due to the experience I gained at Hutch, I decided to apply to The Sunflower in November 2020 after an interview with Lindsay Smith, our Editor-in-Chief. Ironically, I contracted COVID-19 and spent two weeks at home trying not to go crazy after my interview.

Unfortunately, outside of the people I’ve met here at The Sunflower, I don’t have much to show for during my time at WSU… It disappoints me to say that the grocery store cashier job that I’m in the process of leaving, took up more of my time than I wanted it to. My cashier job didn’t allow me to say yes to all of the opportunities with The Sunflower that I wanted to. At the same time, when things got rough at that job, I had The Sunflower to bring me some joy and take my mind off the bad. 

Journalism has given me incredible opportunities. I’ve gotten to attend a press conference for The Dillon Lecture Series and cover some incredible people.  Covering a retirement was interesting as well.  My personal favorite was covering Dan “Coach Nac” Naccarato’s special business-related forums. The forums taught me how to interact in a different way with someone sitting across the table (or on a Zoom)and how to form questions both prior to and on the fly during an interview. 

I will forever be grateful for the ways that journalism has changed my life. It’s crazy to me to think that I started my student journalism career writing a column about Nike and Colin Kaepernick, and to end it with this piece is truly incredible. 

Although the sun is setting on my time here at The Sunflower, I want to thank the people who have been here along the way, especially Jackie Long, Hallier, Coach Nac, Smith, Amy DeVault, and the staff of both The Collegian and The Sunflower. 

As for what’s next, an adventure is calling, and I must go, even though I can’t elaborate very much on it just yet.