Working as copy chief of The Daily Mississippian the past two years easily takes the cake for being the most influential and significant experience of my time at Ole Miss.
Many people come to college knowing exactly what they want to study and what they want to do with their lives, but I didn’t have a clue when I decided to attend Ole Miss. I had fallen in love with Oxford, the Southern charm, the football culture and the campus – that was all that mattered to 18-year-old me. I didn’t mind that I was five hours from home and didn’t know anybody.
At the end of my freshman year, I felt like I needed to hurry up and declare my major. I knew I liked to write, so I chose journalism. I signed up to take Journalism 101 during May intersession so that I’d have an excuse to stay in Oxford after the spring semester ended.
In that class, I learned about the different types of jobs that journalists do. Copy editing stuck out to me. I’d always been good with grammar and English – friends in high school always asked me to proofread their papers. I knew I wanted to pursue something that would allow me to use my red pen and my skills for something worthwhile that was related to my major, and I was eager to try it out.
I started working as a copy editor at The Daily Mississippian the winter of my sophomore year. I absolutely loved it. When editorial staff applications came out a few months later, I applied to be copy chief and was chosen for the position.
I had no idea how much work and responsibility I’d signed up for, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience. It taught me more than any class ever could have.
I can’t imagine how different my college experience would’ve been if I hadn’t worked at The DM, and I don’t know if I ever would’ve developed such a strong love of journalism if I hadn’t been directly involved with it on a daily basis while studying it.
As for the coworkers who quickly became my closest friends, I can’t begin to express how grateful and honored I am to have worked with such talented people. We put together some amazing newspapers. Looking back at the Red Zone, MLK50 and mental health special editions – as well as the routine daily papers – we have a lot to be proud of.
I had no idea how much this job would make me grow – not only as a journalist but also as a person. For that, I give credit to The Daily Mississippian and the people who’ve worked there during the past few years.
I can only hope that whatever I do next teaches me as much and is as rewarding as working at The DM was, but that’s setting a pretty high bar.
In his 2005 commencement address at Stanford, Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
That’s exactly what working at The Daily Mississippian was for me, and I’m so grateful for it.