Farewell: Life & Arts editor reflects on growth as student journalist

I originally thought I would be pursuing a career in radio, television and film when I started college. I neglected to realize that writing has always been a consistent part of my life, and it wasn’t until the 2019 Involvement Fair on campus that I really started to take journalism seriously. The editors-in-chief at the time encouraged me to attend meetings and start writing. When I wrote my first piece for Hilltop Views, “Treat Yourself: 5 student-picked snacks sure to sweeten your day,” I had no idea how significant Hilltop Views would become for me. What started as casual writing during my downtime became a real job that I found a passion for. 

My passion for food photography and writing began in 2019 when I started my Instagram, but I can’t even begin to describe how much Hilltop Views enhanced my love for food reviews and how much I learned from it. Hilltop Views encouraged me to try more new food businesses and to continue to branch out. Interviews have definitely been a difficult thing for me to get used to, I have a lot of anxiety surrounding meeting and talking to someone that I don’t know and need to ask a lot of questions to. Because I needed to get interviews for my stories and meet those deadlines, I was able to break out of my comfort zone and feel more comfortable conducting interviews. I hope to keep improving my interviewing skills, and it feels more comfortable the more often I do it. 

When the pandemic began, online learning was definitely a struggle for me. Hilltop Views helped me maintain a work ethic and have a way to occupy my time while out of an everyday job. Attending budget meetings and having somewhat of a structured schedule to my week really helped me with feeling less anxious during the pandemic. I was able to learn about the world of in-person and remote working and how it applies to journalism. Hilltop Views did an excellent job accommodating to both of these environments. 

Being invited to join the staff as a section editor this semester after two years on staff was extremely rewarding.  I started to feel that my hard work was paying off. I could tell I was making significant improvements. Learning to collaborate with other editors in a newsroom was definitely a challenge, especially during a deadline before a print issue release. I’m definitely glad that I had that experience because it added to my knowledge of newsrooms and the importance of meeting deadlines. 

I don’t know where the rest of my journalism career will take me, but I know that I will carry my experiences at Hilltop Views with me for the rest of my life. I hope to use what I learned on staff to move forward with my career, but I will definitely use this knowledge in other aspects of my life as well. I will frequently refer to previous print issues when I want to reminisce about my time at Hilltop Views, and I will always carry those memories with me.