Senior Column | Nothing will go to plan, and that’s alright

Amplify Editor Meg Doster and soon-to-be Daily Iowan alum says that plans are just guidelines for life.


Contributed photo by Meg Doster

Meg Doster, Amplify Editor

Life will never go as planned. My first plan was to become a computer scientist, then it was to graduate in four years. After that, it was to go to law school. None of those things happened. I changed my major, took an extra year, and my LSAC account is only gathering dust. Planning life out is more of a guideline than anything else.

Two years ago, I applied to The Daily Iowan on a whim, not thinking they’d ever see my application, let alone hire me. I was called for an interview, and then next thing I knew, I was covering school board meetings in Iowa from my bedroom in Michigan. Life is a little funny that way. I didn’t plan to become a reporter. I just became one.

If it weren’t for the editors that hired me — Sabine Martin and Natalie Dunlap — taking the time to train me, I never would’ve ended up where I am. If it weren’t for my coaches Jennifer Wagner and Lyle Muller and their feedback and critique, I would never have made it with the DI as long as I have. There are many other people I can thank for offering me experiences and life lessons that will stick with me long after I leave Iowa City. That first whim brought me to the newspaper, but it was the people I met that kept me there.

Before the DI, I didn’t know anything about what it was like to be a journalist or what it takes to be one. Even though I am not pursuing a career as a reporter, the skills I learned and the experiences I’ve had were more than worth it. I think back to May 2021, and I am so glad that I sent in my application — even when I had to give up my Sundays to go to work for the past two years.

I have written in every section that the DI has, with the exception of DITV. I worked in news as a crime reporter, worked in politics and collaborated with PolitiFact, and did an arts piece and an opinions article. I used to work on the paper’s podcast, and I even wrote a student reaction to a March Madness game. I’ve been around, and I’ve seen a lot.

Each section has its own way of doing things and is as different from each other as the people are, but it’s all still the DI. I never planned to do any of that until moments after the opportunities appeared before me.

I don’t say go with the flow as some throwaway blanket advice. I mean it. Having plans is good – responsible, even. But it’s better to understand plans fall apart all the time, and it’s inevitable that you’re going to find yourself surrounded by the pieces. No one can know when it will happen, just that it will, and it’s better to be prepared.

Whatever your plans are, plan to become adaptable to what life will throw at you, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey while you’re still on it. Because the best decisions are often the impulsive ones.