Ken’s Comments: Thank you, and goodbye

McKenna Ferguson

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McKenna Ferguson

This column started out as a joke.

We needed April Fool’s content and I decided to write a fake column about fake pop culture events. I did it to feed the beast inside telling me how much I missed writing now that I’m an editor, and because it gave me the opportunity to find out if people besides my mom think I’m funny.

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I named it “Ken’s Comments” as a way to establish my preferred nickname, as well as to poke fun at my fellow editor and newsroom bro Keegan Pope and his wonderful column “Words From the Pope.”

It turned out that other people did, in fact, think I was minimally funny, and the reception I received about the fake column was very nice and very real. I decided I might want to take another stab at this whole column thing and found the perfect opportunity with the premiere of “The Grace Helbig Show” on E!.

Again, the reaction was good, and, thanks to you, our dear readers, it was the most-read article on the day it was published, and remained one of the most-read throughout the week. Y’all are too kind to me.

You may regret giving me all of those reads (and inflating my ego as a result) when I tell you that I am once again being self-indulgent and have decided to write a farewell column as a way to wrap up my time as the Collegian‘s Arts & Entertainment Editor, my time at CSU and to wrap up this column itself. Whoa. Meta.

Feel free to click that handy back button at the top of your browser or take a look at some of the wonderful content my staff has recently written over on the A&E section of the website if this is (understandably) not your jam.

If nostalgic farewells are your jam, or you are one of my friends, family members, fellow editors, staff writers, professors, classmates or childhood nemeses, feel free to keep on reading as I look back on the past few years and thank those I encountered along the way:

I entered college a hopeful lass. I was excited to get out of my hometown, meet new people and begin what everyone was telling me would be “the best experience of my life.” I was smacked in the face with a hard dose of reality pretty damn quick.

It began with the ending of a four-year-long high school best-friendship, kept going strong as I attempted to deal with roommate and dorm troubles and eventually it resulted in me doing something pretty desperate: I applied for a job at the Rocky Mountain Collegian in December 2012, right around the time when the world was supposed to end.

I was hired by former News Editor (and eventual Editor-in-Chief) Andrew Carrera to contribute to his desk as a news reporter. Ha. News.

Throughout the months that followed, I struggled to find my place in the newsroom. I wasn’t exactly passionate about news writing, but I grew to admire the team of journalists I was working with, especially that Kate Simmons character. She was cool.

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I stayed on the desk for a year and a half, and eventually that Kate Simmons woman became my friend and, later, my editor. I also began writing for another desk: Arts & Entertainment (which was actually the desk I applied for in the first place). Then-A&E editor Amanda Zetah guided me and let me write about just about anything I wanted, and, when she was set to graduate, she encouraged me to apply for her job.

I thought it was a long shot. I hesitantly threw my hat in the ring and quickly ran away to the comfort of my dorm room to blast “Let it Go” on repeat.

A couple weeks later, in April 2014, when executive editor and all-around newspaper goddess Kate Winkle called me to offer me the position as A&E Editor, the song quickly transformed into Pharrell’s “Happy.” I remember jamming to that before popping open the sparkling apple cider, exchanging my hoodie for a floral shawl and listening to Fleetwood Mac with me in the role of Stevie Nicks.

I had just received my dream job.

I quickly began putting together a staff of writers and attempting to put all of my ducks in a row. The work began the Monday of finals week — May 12, 2014 — and it ends tonight.

As I sit here in the newsroom on my last night working for this organization, sipping sparkling apple cider and hearing photo editor Rick Cookson deliver one of his classic, strangely elaborate jokes, I think it might just be the perfect conclusion.

Thank you to Andrew Carrera, the man who hired me, acted as my first editor and got me through a few too many reporter panic attacks.

Thank you to Kate Simmons, my Collegian role model who has continued to inspire me every day, who has always been there to offer an empathetic smile and who always laughs at my jokes, even when nobody else does. I’ve often said I don’t know how to work in a newsroom that does not have Kate Simmons in it.

Thank you to Kate Winkle, our fearless leader who keeps us in line when necessary, but always trusts us to get the job done to the best of our ability. #QueenKwinkle forever.

Thank you to my fellow editors and members of the Editorial Board. Y’all have been a constant source of love and support, even when we were driving each other nuts. You’re beautiful humans — the whole lot.

Thank you to my assistant editors, Taylor Pettaway and Ellie Mulder. Thank you for your hard work and camaraderie.

Thank you to my incredibly talented writing staff. You always turned your work in on time (or early!), came prepared with great ideas and made me look good (not an easy task, let me tell you). I am a human mess. You are all gems destined for greatness.

Thank you to Baleigh for being the best damn copy editor I could have asked for.

Thank you to my friends for putting up with me through it all. Thank you to Bennett, for (almost) always picking up when I call while leaving the newsroom at midnight, and for always cheering me up with an inappropriate joke or story. Thank you to Lexi for listening to my complaining during our Friday phone calls. Thank you to Nicole for being my other half since high school. Thank you to Krista, for inspiring me to write again and for her smile. Thank you to Beau for being a constant provider of the perfect mixture of support and sass. Thank you to Caroline for your thought-provoking conversation. Thank you to Royce for being an infuriating writer, but an incredible friend. #friendmode

Thank you to my mother, my best friend and constant companion. I have no words to describe my love and gratitude. “Ain’t no mountain high enough, bestie.” Not a single damn mountain.

Thank you to my dad for being an ever-present, brilliant and kind-hearted soul. “I love you. I bless you. I have great faith in you.”

Thank you to my brother. Thank you to my sister-in-law. Thank you to my niece and nephew. Y’all offer perspective, honesty and humor. I’ll see you next Sunday to marathon some “Supernatural,” right?

Thank you to Duane for helping to provide me with the opportunity to attend college at all. I am forever grateful. I’ll miss you on graduation day.

Thank you, CSU. Thanks for being my home for the past four years. Thanks to everyone on this campus for making this experience all that it was.

Thank you, Collegian, for salvaging my college experience, giving me purpose and becoming my family away from home.

And thanks to you, reader. Thanks for actually reading this whole thing.

If it makes you feel better, you just got a sneak peek of over a thousand words from my eventual memoir. #perks

Collegian A&E Editor McKenna Ferguson can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @McKennaMagazine.