Letter: The Collegian gave me a career. I hope I gave something in return

Shown above are three weekly print issues of The Collegian from the fall 2021 semester. The Collegian prints every Tuesday and is free to both students and community members (Jesús Cano/The Collegian)

I still remember in September 2018 walking into Betsy Hays’ office and telling her I wanted to change my major to media, communications and journalism. 

Only a month had passed since I started going to Fresno State, and I wasn’t sure how to feel. Honestly, I was regretting my decision to go to school here. I had seen many of my close friends head to prestigious schools, quickly make their own friend groups and acclimate themselves to their campus environments.

Meanwhile, I was doing everything but adjusting. Before the first day of classes, I planned to switch to my major from business administration to engineering and follow my older brother, who was already taking engineering classes at Fresno State.

Then, on a whim, a few weeks later I wanted to switch my major. I couldn’t tell you why. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I didn’t want to do any more advanced math classes. There were many reasons. 

When I finally told my parents I wanted to major in journalism, they looked at me dumbfounded. Albeit, it was out of love. They wanted me to pursue a career that offered high-paying jobs and several opportunities. Journalism was getting more and more competitive as a plethora of newsrooms were shutting down. 

I had also never shown any prior interest in journalism before besides occasionally reading the weekly Time magazine that would come in the mail. Yet despite their views, I still walked into Hays’ office and handed in my change of major form.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I was going to do next. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to work at The Collegian. I didn’t even know much about the paper, but I knew it was the next step given that I was majoring in print/digital journalism.

Two semesters later, I finally sent in my application for The Collegian to be the sports editor. I didn’t even know that much about Fresno State sports besides the high-profile names – Orlando Robinson, Ronnie Rivers. But Samantha Domingo, the former managing editor, and Anthony De Leon, the former editor-in-chief, saw that I was passionate and took a chance on me. 

From there, my journey at The Collegian began. That first semester was a window into how rewarding and how difficult the rest of my time here would be. There were many highs from getting to travel to Las Vegas to cover the Mountain West women’s basketball championship to many lows with the beginning of the pandemic. 

I still remember sitting in the office in the middle of March 2020 with all of the other editors and thinking “is this it?” We all weren’t sure what to expect and what would happen with the future of the newspaper.

Nevertheless, the newspaper persisted. De Leon continually pushed me to be a better writer and a better journalist. I’ll never forget those times we spent sitting late on Zoom calls near the end of the semester and for most of the summer. 

For the time that I led the newspaper soon after, it was an extremely difficult transition. The Collegian wasn’t printing a newspaper, and it was completely digital. I spent most of my days stuck inside my home and avoided interacting with others. As a staff, we were all dealing with our own mental struggles, many of us had financial troubles and some had family members who were sick with COVID-19. 

On top of that, we had to contend with being full-time students taking virtual classes for a full semester for the first time. I’m just really grateful that through this time people chose to set aside their time to work for us and produce impactful journalism for all Fresno State students. 

When we finally got to get back to the newsroom for the first time in person, the experience was amazing. It’s the little things you miss being together with everyone: the banter, the rants on classes, the talks completely unrelated to work. 

I was still a nervous wreck. How could I not be when I was the only editor this semester who had ever produced a physical newspaper for The Collegian. And that was more than a year ago.

But we did it thanks to everyone on our staff who continually put in the effort to provide great content to our readers every week. This paper is about more than one person. It takes a network. For that, I want to thank all the people I worked with.

Thank you Anthony and Sam for taking a chance on someone who didn’t have the highest belief in himself. I can’t say enough good things about Anthony who helped me become the journalist and person I am today. 

Thank you to all the editors I worked with: Andrea, Larry, Anjanae, Julease, Marc, Ashley, Manuel, Halle, Peter, Armando, Kameron, Jannah and Jesús. Thank you for putting up with me and for believing in the work we do. Thank you to all the reporters, contributors  and photographers I had the chance to work with. Thank you for dealing with my constant edits and late Slack messages. 

Thank you to the advisers: Tim Drachlis for teaching me everything I know about journalism, Betsy for being our biggest supporter, Jan Edwards for leading our advertisement staff and bringing revenue to our product, Kevin Fries for diligently managing our finances, and Rich Marshall for catching all the copy errors I missed. 

I entered The Collegian as a naive 19-year-old and now leave it two years later with so many memories.

Before I finish, I wanted to make a special announcement: I’m extremely excited to announce that Jannah Geraldo will lead The Collegian in the spring as the next editor-in-chief. I hired Jannah as a reporter last year and was able to see her quickly excel with a great news judgment and a knack for finding unique stories. She writes some of the cleanest copy I’ve seen, and that’s an understatement. 

During her time as a reporter and a news editor, she’s shown she can not only report amazing stories but also lead reporters in writing great stories of their own. I can’t wait to see the work she’s able to accomplish as the editor-in-chief.

With that, this is me signing off. The Collegian gave me so much, and I hope I gave something back to this amazing network in return.

Previous Story Fresno State improves offensive efficiency in win against San Diego article thumbnail mt-3

Fresno State improves offensive efficiency in win against San Diego

Next Story Robinson climbs into the top 50 of Fresno State’s all-time scoring list article thumbnail mt-3

Robinson climbs into the top 50 of Fresno State’s all-time scoring list