I remember my first weekend at Mills — I stepped into the first pitch meeting of the fall 2010 semester, and I picked up a story for the Features section. Event coverage, something like that. I freaked out and dropped the story because I knew I couldn’t handle it. It took me a year before I even got the courage to come back into the newsroom. Since sophomore year, I’ve been on staff for all but one semester.
I can’t say that it’s always been a positive experience, my time at The Campanil and my time at Mills. I’ve learned a lot about myself, that much I know. My critical thinking skills expanded, and I learned about intersectionality, both of which are things that I know I will take with me to my graduate studies at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism.
And that’s the thing: The Campanil became more than just a newspaper for me my final year here. I was in the car with fellow editors when I received my rejection letter from University of California, Berkeley’s J-School; they were the first ones I told I was accepted to USC. I share all my experiences with my newspaper family, especially since I spend a good majority of my time in the newsroom.
I took my negative experiences and turned them into positives. I came back to The Campanil after leaving due to personality conflicts. I came back because I knew the new staff, with a new Editor-in-Chief, and I knew they were different — they are allies, even people of color themselves. The once toxic environment became a better one, a productive one. This staff was more helpful and understanding than any of the past Campanil staffs I had been a part of and I can’t speak enough about how appreciative I am for that.
Yeah, there are still problems here and there. Nothing is perfect. But Annenberg’s Media Center is nothing like the tight knit group that The Campanil newsroom is. They worked with me as I took a week away from campus to freelance in Arizona, achieving some life goals in being credentialed through MLB; they supported me as I worked on a senior thesis that was triggering, even being the biggest group of people to show up at my senior thesis reading. I can’t thank them enough for that.
After five years of undergraduate studies, I’m just about ready to leave Mills. But I don’t think I’ll ever fully leave The Campanil’s network of alumae, not when they helped me shape and hone and project my voice. They took on an Online Editor who never had any journalism experience outside of being a blogger before that. I grew and learned, and I have the opportunity to move up to USC’s program, widening all of my options with such a state-of-the-art media center.
And for that, I’ll always hold The Campanil in my heart.
RETRACTION: A previous version of this letter, as well as the version in our print edition, contains an inflammatory statement regarding an unnamed previous editor of The Campanil. We have since removed this statement, and sincerely apologize to any affected by our editing indiscretion.