The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Senior column | Journalism taught me to embrace not being in control

The Daily Iowan newsroom gave me the confidence I needed before leaving campus.
Photo contributed by Kathleen Zeivel

When I first came to college and people asked me why I wanted to be a writer, I’d tell them about how much I loved writing for my high school’s yearbook.

I never realized how much writing would shape my life and how many experiences I would be presented with throughout my time in college. Studying at the University of Iowa has evolved my relationship with writing, providing many more reasons to confidently say I want to be a writer.

I’ve always read for class but have been told I need to love reading to love writing. I already knew I loved writing, so this confused me. I have always had a great relationship with reading but never associated it with pleasure. Somewhere along the way the class readings that used to be completed only as a requirement became enticing and enriching. I’ve learned the pleasure of knowledge, much of which comes from reading.

My relationship with words, spoken or written, has become complicated in college. I never realized the power words hold, that I would hold as a writer. I have control over what goes on the page, but a writer must let go of that control and give the power to their reader for interpretation.

Coming into college, the lack of control I had over how readers understood my written words intimidated me. It nerved me to think about the many different worlds my readers may come from and to think they wouldn’t understand me. The UI has expanded my world and allowed me to see the lack of control as freeing.

It’s freeing to know that although my writing may not mean the same thing to readers as it does me, they take what they need with them. College has taught me I will never be able to control others’ thoughts, actions, or opinions, but I will always maintain control of myself and my reactions to the world around me.

Life will continue to throw me in the deep end, and I will be free knowing all I can do is try my best to swim against the tide and into shallow waters.

Many of my college experiences have prepared me to float in the deeper waters for a while, soaking in the comfortability that comes with depth. I have grown the most from the challenges I have been forced to accept.

Being part of The Daily Iowan newsroom has been a valuable experience to say the least, giving me the confidence I needed before leaving campus in May. I joined this spring and have learned more than I could’ve imagined working as a news reporter for the last three months.

I have been encouraged to push myself until I discover my limit. I’ve learned how important it is to not give up on a story I see potential in, and how necessary time and commitment are to making it come alive on the page. I’ve learned the hard truth that I have to show my readers why they should care to read my writing to begin with.

I’ve grown so much during my time at the DI, and would like to thank my editors for always having the confidence in me that I didn’t see in myself. I’d also like to thank everyone I’ve met at The UI, professors and classmates, friends and coworkers, and anyone who has read my news articles. Being a student and news reporter at The UI has given me the confidence to look forward to being thrown into the deep end of post-grad life, accepting the lack of control over the tide.

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