“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change” – Michael Jackson.
For the longest time, I was an individual with lots to say but with no voice to convey those messages. There are always constant ideas invariably going through my head when it comes to wanting people to see multiple perspectives. If I could provide others with a different perspective, especially on controversial topics, then perhaps I can help people become more open-minded and gain a better understanding of humanity. But in order to help others become more accepting, I had to change myself because how could I lead others to be open if I could not be open with myself?
I cannot tell you what I expected to get out of joining The Wichitan almost 3 years ago. I was a simple English major who wanted some sort of outlet to write freely outside of the classroom so the student newspaper seemed like the most logical choice. Mind you, I had never written an article of any sort—never even took a yearbook class. How the heck was I supposed to write a news article when MLA format coursed through my veins? Then I discovered that I could write columns about topics I was passionate about—things I felt needed to be addressed. So I wrote a column about my experience as someone living on campus who was temporarily disabled, and the rest is history.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For my first year, I felt like I was just existing and was not sure if I truly wanted to write for a newspaper since fiction was always my forte. But let’s tie into that opening quote: “If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the change.” I wanted to provide change for the good but I had to change myself first. I had to learn how to be comfortable with the fact that people were not going to be happy with what I write even though it was absolutely necessary for me to bring these subjects up. I focused on different perspectives: being black, being Indigenous, being plus-sized, being a student in a pandemic. I became known as the reporter who was not afraid to tackle “controversial” topics.
It has truly been an honor serving as a reporter and cartoonist for The Wichitan. The lessons I learned while being a part of this wonderful group of people are lessons that will always stick with me. If you are wondering whether to speak up for your beliefs, remember there are people out there afraid to say the same things—you just have to be the first.
Farewell, and thank you for the life lessons.