Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
It’s going to be strange seeing my byline in The State News for the last time today.
It’s also going to be strange having dinner at a normal time, going to sleep at a normal time and just having time in general.
For the past three years, I’ve been a member of The State News staff. I’ve been an intern, a reporter in features, diversity, cops and courts, politics and an editor for reporters of my own. Thursday was the last day I’ll ever walk into the newsroom as an employee.
I was proud to be a watchdog for the MSU community and someone for my friends and students throughout campus to turn to for news and updates. I am incredibly blessed for the Spartans I’ve been able to meet and the stories I’ve been able to hear.
As I write this, I’m facing my last deadline for this newspaper. I figured now was a better time than ever to take a trip down memory lane.
First, let’s get one thing straight. Working in a newsroom isn’t like working at a restaurant, gas station, office or any other typical college student jobs. It requires lengthy hours, giving up your Sundays, strict deadlines, a love for news and most importantly, dedication.
Yes, I missed out on fourth floor dinners in Akers Hall my freshman year.
Yes, I left movie theaters to report breaking news on campus, such as Cedar Fest. No, I don’t think I’ve ever taken a nap after class. Yes, I shaved about five years off of my life from the stress of working in a newsroom.
But this newspaper has given me more than I could have ever given back.
I shook hands with celebrities and prominent figures, from former presidential candidate Rick Santorum to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
I chronicled the trial of an MSU student who killed 13 dogs and met an international student from Syria who shared with me the heartache of knowing his family was back home amidst a national civil war.
I covered some of President Lou Anna K. Simon’s major policy implementations, and still fan girl over her when I see her from time to time at Noodles & Company.
As a naive intern out of her element in sports reporting, I had the opportunity to talk to a Spartan basketball player one-on-one my freshman year. Of course, the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “Do you like basketball?” Not my finest moment, but I still appreciated the opportunity.
At that same basketball practice, I also had the opportunity to ask the experienced sports reporter at the time why Tom Izzo slaps his players’ rears during practice so often.
For the record, apparently, “It’s a sports thing.”
This past summer, I was sent to Florida to cover the Republican National Convention and will never forget the moment former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan winked at me as he passed my gawking face on the convention floor. Never.
But it isn’t the interesting places I’ve been to or big names I’ve been able to talk to that made it all worth it. Being able to call The State News my family made it all worth it.
When I cried after a source was less than thrilled to talk to me or read a few not so nice comments on my articles, someone in the newsroom was there to pick me back up.
When I finally tracked down a document I’d spent weeks hunting for, my newsroom family celebrated with me.
When I passed out at the sight of blood at a crime scene and walked in the newsroom with bandages all over my knees, plenty of people were there to laugh — I choose to believe with me, not at me.
When I thought I couldn’t keep going, they pushed me forward.
I met some of the people here I want at and in my wedding. I met the people I’ll keep in contact with all throughout my journalism career.
I’ll always remember the night of the Boston bombing, where each and every member of The State News family pitched in to pull together coverage.
Phones were ringing, and the newsroom was bustling. Reporters who write on subjects from arts and entertainment to basketball helped out.
That was true journalism, in my eyes.
When I thought of college before I came to MSU, I thought of cramped dorm rooms, greek Life, all-night study sessions and the whole enchilada.
While those things still turned out to be apparent on campus, that’s not what I’ll remember about MSU.
When I think of college for the rest of my life, I’ll think of my family at The State News.
I’ll never forget the best three years I could ask for. Thank you for everything.
Kellie Rowe is the capitol reporter at The State News and a journalism junior. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.