By JENNA WOS, Copy Editor
When I started taking classes as a freshman at UM-Dearborn, I contributed only the bare minimum. Because I live just 10 minutes away, I would go to class and leave immediately after. As an 18-year-old, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly what I wanted to do with my life, so knowing which classes to take or clubs to join didn’t come easy, either. I have always loved school, but the pressure that all college students feel to decide which career path to take built a wall, blocking me from that affection.
It was easy for me to rule out options, but narrowing them down just wasn’t happening. I have an artsy brain, so math and science are hard to wrap my head around. I was positive I wasn’t going into those fields, so I despised taking pre-calc and geology. I’ve never planned on running for president or digging up neanderthals’ bones, so taking American government and anthropology was a bore.
English has always been my strong suit — reading at a 12th grade level in 5th grade, writing “A F.I.S.H. Tale,” published in a book of short stories by young adults in 6th grade, penning goofy stories about time travel to a friend throughout high school, and, of course, always correcting people’s grammar — but what career could come of that? I wanted to read, write, and help people write, so I supposed my only option was to be an English teacher. High school English would be the most stimulating, I figured, and summers off would be cool, right? So, I began taking education classes right away, and stopped just as quickly. For some reason, I didn’t feel fully committed and happy with my decision.
I continued on with my pre-requisite education for the next few semesters, taking only two or three classes at a time — some of them the same mundane types I didn’t get excited about. Although I didn’t want to be a teacher, I couldn’t kick the feeling that language arts was what I wanted to pursue. I’ve always dreamt of being a book editor, but I thought that wasn’t realistic and was a job for someone who lives in New York City. However, upon looking for a major, I realized that the Journalism and Screen Studies program encompassed editing, storytelling, and other forms of media. Maybe something could come of this, I thought.
I had never written anything journalistic, so I was a bit apprehensive taking my first class in the program; I didn’t know how I’d do with that type of writing. However, narrative journalism was the perfect combination of creative and journalistic writing — far different from the academic type I was used to — to get me hooked on the art and allow me to soar. It showed me how to deeply examine things in a more analytical way — whether it be music, a restaurant, a play, or book — and voice and organize my thoughts. I never expected writing to be a possible career, but this class opened that door for me. One of the last assignments was to write a Detroit story, so I wrote “‘Seva’ Life: Dine in a Vegetarian Restaurant,” on which my professor wrote, “Perfect! Submit somewhere.”
I did — and so began my career with The Michigan Journal. Simultaneously diving into the curriculum — some of my favorite classes being feature writing, history of American journalism, modern English grammar, and especially copy editing — and writing for the newspaper, I learned a lot about the field and began to feel more comfortable writing in this style.
However, something wasn’t right with my printed stories. There were spelling and punctuation errors in our college newspaper… how could that be? I thought that was absolutely unacceptable, so as soon as the position was up for grabs, I bombarded the editor-in-chief with emails asking if I could be the copy editor. Lucky for me, not many people enjoy going through stories with a fine-tooth comb, fixing mistakes, and reworking them to be more clear, concise, and consistent, so I was given the job.
Being an editor for The Michigan Journal has been a pleasure, not only because I gained experience and I actually enjoy being a grammar Nazi, but because it allowed me to feel included in the UM-Dearborn community. All those years I spent going home after class were wasted when I could’ve been making connections with people who enjoy the same things I do. Getting to work with my peers to produce a publication each week has been challenging, exciting, and rewarding. After hours, bike-riding at Slow Roll or going out for dinner and drinks with them has made it even better. Because of my fellow editors, this past year has been the best of college, by far.
So, as my scholastic career comes to a bittersweet close, I’d like to thank all the people who have had an influence on me during my time at UM-Dearborn — the internship coordinator, my Michigan Journal editors and friends, and the professors who are so passionate about the field. It’s because of them I was able to have so many awesome opportunities over the past two years — learning about the history of the Henry Ford Estate right in our own backyard while listening to an orchestra, interviewing fashion designers and attending an opening which featured a performance by Alice Cooper, and having my work published in the newspaper and magazines. Although I won’t be attending classes any longer, I know I will continue to learn with every assignment and I’m eager to take on the opportunities that lie ahead.
“When grey and sere our hair hath turned, we shall still revere the lessons learned, in our days at Dear Old [Dearborn].” – Wicked