Bidding CSU adieu from the opinion editor

Michelle Fredrickson

Editor’s Notes: Traditionally graduating students working at The Collegian are given the chance to write a farewell note at the end of their tenure at CSU. 

Before I even moved to Fort Collins to attend CSU for graduate school, I knew I wanted to work for The Collegian.

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I had spent all four years of my undergraduate at Washington State University deeply involved in The Daily Evergreen, the local student newspaper, as everything from sports columnist to news editor to editor-in-chief. It had been the best experience of my college career. I love student journalism, and I believe at my core that it is one of the greatest things a university can offer.

After leaving The Daily Evergreen, I was nervous about going to a new paper. How would any newspaper live up to the ridiculously high expectations I had for Student Media? 

The Collegian more than lived up to these expectations. Ever since I started my master’s program here, The Collegian has allowed me to meet some of the smartest, most talented, most hardworking people I’ve seen anywhere.

I was a jack of all trades for The Collegian, wearing whatever hat the paper needed me to put on. These hats were news writer, sports columnist, opinion columnist, copy editor, and eventually opinion editor. I was willing to do whatever the paper needed, because The Collegian is full of people who staff the paper with love, joy and dignity and are doing their best to make this campus a better place. Those people are inspiring to work with, and they drove others around them to reach for the same success.

I’m receiving my master’s in public health on Friday, but even though I’ve moved away from a career in journalism, the skills a person takes away from writing for a newspaper are essential across career boundaries. The best experience I have had at the newspaper has been on the opinion desk, first as a health columnist and then as the desk editor.

I thought I had seen it all when I started writing for opinion. I’d been in student newsrooms for five years; I thought nothing could surprise me. I was so wrong. The opinion section had a unique vibrancy about it, a culture where people with radically opposing viewpoints made an effort to understand each other and get along. In today’s divided political times, it was amazing to be part of something like that.

Working for this newspaper and my desk in particular made me a better person. It made me more compassionate toward others. It made me more capable of seeing and understanding all sides to a discussion. It was a venue for intelligent, informed discussion without attack, and it had a positive effect on everyone who worked on this desk.

I am genuinely sad to be leaving the opinion desk, and The Collegian as a whole. The people who make this paper possible are some of the most intelligent, hardworking and powerful human beings I’ve ever met. I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with them, because I’m confident that they are the next generation of leaders.

Jayla Hodge is taking up the opinion desk mantle, and there is nobody I would rather see leading this desk. Jayla goes out of her way to understand those around her, to understand where they’re coming from and why they hold the opinions they do, especially when it’s not easy for her. She is exactly what the opinion section needs in an editor.

Getting to know Jayla this year has made me a better person, and as head of the opinion section, she’ll have that effect on the whole campus next year.

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Thank you CSU, and especially The Collegian. I will never forget my time at this newspaper.

Michelle Fredrickson can be reached online at @mfredrickson42