I distinctly remember my last day of classes three years ago. It was a chilly winter’s day, the sky was gray, and there was hardly anyone on campus. But I couldn’t wait any longer; I needed to know if I had gotten the job.
The Collegian newsroom was nearly empty when I entered, save for a handful of students still at work. I had submitted my application for a columnist position weeks ago, but had not heard back from anyone, so I decided to check on my status.
An editor in charge of hiring shuffled through a stack of applications, pulled mine out and conducted an impromptu interview. I was asked why I wanted the job — after all, it paid miserably and columnists’ views were frequently attacked in editorials. Moreover, I wasn’t even a journalism student.
My reasons for wanting to be a columnist were quite simple: I enjoyed writing and wanted to help stimulate debate on campus. I was hired on the spot, not so much because I was the right fit for the job, but because I had actually cared to follow up on my application.
Seventy columns and 43,900 words later, my time as a Collegian columnist has come to an end.
For the past three years, I have enjoyed all the excitement and challenges this job entails — from losing sleep to meet a deadline, spending hours on end researching an article topic, tracking people down for an interview and driving frantically all over a remote northern city in Ghana searching for an Internet café.
It has been quite the ride and, by far, the best job I have ever had.
Without turning this into an Academy Awards acceptance speech, I want to conclude this article by briefly acknowledging those people and organizations that have contributed to my articles and served as a source of motivation
Beginning with the Collegian, I am truly grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve as a columnist for the past five semesters. It has been a pleasure working for an organization so committed to its readers and willing to go where few student-run newspapers have gone before.
I am also indebted to the countless people who I have interviewed over the years. Thank you for making time for me to bombard you with questions.
My last two semesters as a foreign correspondent in Ghana could not have been possible without Rotary International. Being an Ambassadorial Scholar has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I thank Rotarians for their generosity and commitment to service above self.
To my Front Range Community College and CSU professors for opening my mind to new ideas, a special thank you. Many of my article topics came from issues tackled in classes.
Most importantly, though, I want to thank my super fans — my family.
My mom’s office is hard to miss; it’s the one covered in newspaper clippings of my articles. Every week, she comes home with a stack of newspapers and spends her little time off cutting out my article to send to family. An impassioned educator and immigration reform advocate, she has been the source of inspiration behind many articles.
Then there is my older brother who has been my go-to-person when writing on local or state government issues. He is also the first to start hyperventilating when I write a truly controversial article that might get me in trouble, such as the time my Ghanaian views on homosexuality piece appeared on ghanaweb.com and solicited more than 200 comments, many of them threatening. Immediately thereafter, I received an e-mail from my brother that said, “We need to talk.”
Lastly, I wouldn’t have started writing for the Collegian if it hadn’t been for my dad. He was the one that suggested I go into journalism, seeing that I liked asking questions and investigating. A great teacher in civil disobedience, he will forever be a motivating force in fighting for social justice — something I aspire to continue working toward through the use of words.
Luci Storelli-Castro is a senior political science and philosophy major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to email@example.com.