This month I’m graduating. Three years ago, I didn’t believe this day would come.
I came to Mills as a transfer student in 2011, two months after my grandmother, who encouraged me to go to Mills, passed away. I dropped my last semester of Junior College that would have made my status entering Mills as a junior drop down to a sophomore.
At the time, I was one year into reintegrating myself into society after having chronic panic attacks every time I left the house. I was still struggling daily with panic attacks and anxiety, which eventually caused me to drop down my course load to one class and one independent study class just to keep enrollment; needless to say, my first year was rough at Mills.
I did not know one person and did not attend orientation—so I really didn’t know anyone and had no clue how to navigate the campus.
In my second year I took the beginning journalism class with Meredith May and my college experience completely
changed. This beginner journalism class opened me up to a community on campus that I never knew I always wanted to fit into.
The Campanil swooped me up from my very first meeting and threw me into the hustle-bustle of what it means to be a journalist. I was also required to write stories for them and submit them for publishing for the class—so we were sort of pushed into each other’s arms.
At first I was really intimidated; so many young, intelligent women just going for it and learning on the job, accepting the consequences as they came. Also immediately learning that as a student journalist, you receive a lot of push back from the entire Mills community, which makes getting any story done on a deadline next to impossible.
That’s part of a college newspaper. It’s also part of a lot of real life jobs out there—you learn as you go, taking your mistakes in stride. And here was a group of women doing it together as a team, supporting each other. It was beautiful!
After my first few stories I started to recognize people from the newsroom. I wrote a few more stories and random people on campus started approaching me with Kudos and ideas for more stories I could write.
“It’s Kate, right?” one woman said. “You wrote that one article about overcrowding in women’s prisons right, didn’t you? I am so glad The Campanil covered that story.”
I took my second and almost all subsequent journalism classes with Sarah Pollock who immersed me in all of her amazing knowledge and skills as a journalist, a teacher and a mentor through multiple learning styles—a must for someone recovering from anxiety and relearning how to learn and live life. I was sold. I declared my minor in journalism and never looked back.
All of a sudden I had people; people that knew me, checked up on me, who cared for me. They were my people. All of a sudden, I became a “WE.”
“We” might not be such a big deal to most, but it was something I have never known at a school before Mills. Before The Campanil, I was only a “me:” alone, barely existing in this tiny bubble we call Mills.
The “we” of The Campanil got me my degree.
Kate Carmack has worked as The Campanil‘s Copy Chief since Spring 2013. She will be graduating this semester with a bachelor in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in journalism.
For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.