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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Secrest: A letter to my 1st-year self

Collegian | Hannah Parcells
Ivy Secrest, 2023-24 Content Managing Editor.

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

The Collegian has been the most time consuming, dedicated and oddly rewarding relationship of my college career. I’ve spent more nights with The Collegian than any partner and written more Slack messages and articles than papers or presentations.


Even with the time commitment, this organization and its members have given me four years of immense joy. Growing up, I wrote letters to my future self, asking the big questions like, “Who was your first kiss?” and, “Do we ever travel to Paris?” Looking back, I can think of no better way to reflect on my time at The Collegian than writing a letter to my first-year self. I don’t know if I could ever convince her of just how much she would grow within this organization, but I can at least try.

To a first-year girl, sitting alone in Newsom Hall,

I want to reassure you that you will find a place on this campus. I know right now you are feeling isolated, wondering whether attending college is really worth weekly COVID-19 testing. I know you’re hyperfixated on the searing memory of standing hunched over a trash can to drool into a test tube in front of countless equally horrified peers. I can’t promise you’ll ever forget those exceptionally unique and awkward moments, but I can promise that through it all, you will find people with whom you can share your best stories.

In the basement of the Lory Student Center, there’s a musty newsroom decorated with suspicious furniture and old computers that only fail when you need to meet a deadline. In your first year writing for The Collegian, you’ll barely visit, but the room smells like fresh ink on paper and will quickly become a second home.

Reporting for The Collegian will take you beyond campus into Fort Collins and beyond. It will introduce you to local businesses and social movements in ways you otherwise never would have seen. You’ll speak with artists and get to know the deep and emotional stories behind your peers as they deal with the broader world. Being a reporter will become an integral part of your identity. You’ll quickly forget what it was like to be scared to approach strangers, and writing ledes will become second nature.

Beyond the obvious education piece, you are going to meet some of your favorite people. I know you best — you’re a reluctant and forgiving optimist, a socially anxious extrovert and a genuinely kind friend. You’ll meet people who make you question that, people who make you believe that you don’t care and people who say that you’re simply too much.

None of them will be journalism kids, and that’s the beauty of this place. The people at The Collegian are kind, funny and vivacious and will serve as the type of friends who fix things they don’t even realize are broken. They’re a friend to everyone until given reason not to be. They are open minded and curious, just like you.

You’ll bond in a delirious state over meeting deadlines, learning about astrology and investing excess time in celebrity gossip. You’ll consume heart damage-inducing levels of Dutch Bros and spill endless secrets over margaritas at the Rio Grande. You will become a walking vault full of intimate details regarding love, life, family and loss for many of your peers. You’ll inspire phrases like, “Trauma dump in The Stump,” and will finally have a place to publish your fire-starting opinions.

I know that you’ll appreciate it, and while you are more likely to run from a bad feeling than toward it, I also know that by the end of your time here, you’ll consider yourself lucky to be so sad to leave a place. Genuinely missing something is a demonstration of love, and you do love these people. I don’t know where you’ll end up — I don’t even know if this will be your forever career — I just know that no matter how odd it was, you will love your college experience.


With love,

The version of you who made it to graduation

Ivy Secrest was the 2023-24 content managing editor of The Rocky Mountain Collegian. She can no longer be reached at, but she can be reached on Twitter @IvySecrest.

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About the Contributors
Ivy Secrest
Ivy Secrest, Content Managing Editor
Ivy Secrest is The Collegian's content managing editor. Secrest uses she/her/hers pronouns and has worked for The Collegian previously as a reporter and as life and culture director for the 2022-23 academic year. As a senior in the journalism and media communications department, Secrest enjoys reporting on environmental and social issues with a special interest in science communication. She is president of the Science Communication Club and is pursuing a minor in global environmental sustainability with hopes of utilizing her education in her career. Growing up in Denver, Secrest developed a deep love for the outdoors. She could happily spend the rest of her life hiking alpine environments, jumping into lakes, taking photos of the wildflowers and listening to folk music. She's passionate about skiing, hiking, dancing, painting, writing poetry and camping. Secrest's passions spurred her career in journalism, helping her reach out to her community and get involved in topics that students and residents of Fort Collins truly care about. She has taken every opportunity to connect with the communities she has reported in and has written for several of the desks at The Collegian, including news, life and culture, cannabis, arts and entertainment and opinion. She uses her connections with the community to inform both managerial and editorial decisions with hopes that the publication serves as a true reflection of the student body's interests and concerns. Secrest is an advocate of community-centered journalism, believing in the importance of fostering meaningful dialogue between press and community.
Hannah Parcells
Hannah Parcells, News Editor
Hannah Parcells is currently the news editor at The Collegian, a role that she loves dearly. Parcells uses she/her pronouns and began writing for The Collegian in fall 2023 as a reporter under the news, science, opinion and life and culture desks.  Parcells is currently pursuing two degrees: a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a concentration in global politics. Parcells has always been passionate about understanding and helping other people and hopes to use her education to try and leave the world a little better than she found it.  Raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Parcells grew up with a love of learning, music and writing. She’s always working to learn more about the world through history and art and loves being introduced to new places, people and ideas.  On the off chance that she’s not buried in textbooks, research papers and policy analyses, Hannah can be found on a hike, watching movies or at any local bookstore or coffee shop, feeding her ongoing addictions to both caffeine and good books. Parcells is incredibly proud of the work she’s done at The Collegian so far and is excited to continue that work as an editor of the news desk.

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