Editor's note: This column originally appeared in an April 28, 2016, edition of The Daily Nebraskan.
So, I got into journalism because of a sportswriter named Rick Reilly. And when he hung up his cleats for good a few years ago, he wrote about a few things he learned covering sports for 30 years.
I’m no Rick Reilly, but it’s my final week as editor-in-chief of The DN, and my final finals week as a student at UNL, so to pay homage to the writer who convinced me to get into this business, here are a few things I learned during my time at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:
Engineer? Take fiction writing. Business major? Take Oceanography. The more you can diversify your college experience the better. That goes for friends, bars and classes.
If you sleep more than eight hours a night, you’re doing college wrong. If you only sleep three hours a night, you’re also doing it wrong.
Finishing your paper is important, but midnight runs to Taco Bell are essential.
In the Greek System? Great. But get out of it every once in awhile. The world isn’t filled with people who share your same ideals. Not in the Greek System? Great. Talk to someone who is in it every once in awhile. The world isn’t filled with people who share your same ideals, either.
“Mr. Brightside” is, and always will be, the best song to play at any party.
Call your parents. Email your grandma. Go home on a random weekend. You know how much you miss your dog? Your parents miss you 16 times more than that.
The best part of campus, by far, is the walkway from the Lied Center to Memorial Stadium at midnight after $5 movie night at Marcus Theatres.
Cry when you need. Ask for help when you need. Go to the batting cages and unleash hell-fury on some baseballs when you need. College is stressful, and sometimes, it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s always OK to show that you’re not OK.
Don’t envy the athletes who walk around this campus. Yes, they’re kind of famous, but imagine not being able to choose what you eat for lunch every day.
The best coach I covered was Connie Yori, the nicest Mike Riley, the nastiest Bo Pelini. Ameer Abdullah was the most gracious, Taylor Martinez the least.
The only thing worse than a Jaysker is a UNL student who’s only been to football and men’s basketball games. Wanna call yourself a “Husker fanatic?” Go to a women’s soccer game for crying out loud.
Read. Read things that make you mad. Read things that make you think, and read them over again. We like to ignore the opinions we disagree with and shelter ourselves in news and opinions that cater to the world we want to live in. Ignoring a world you don’t agree with doesn’t make it go away.
Writer’s block cures in order:
1. Middle school music.
2. Pixar movie clips on Youtube.
3. Rinse, repeat.
The coffee in every newsroom in America is the same: too dark, too hot and made by the same guy every day.
Ignorance and online comments are the truest romance since Harry met Sally.
Someone will be offended by this story. Another will be offended by that sentence. If you write, don’t get caught up in comments and criticisms – stay true to storytelling. That’s far more important.
The DN, at its best, starts a conversation. You might not always like it, but a society that isn’t constantly questioning itself is doomed, and a newspaper that doesn’t raise those questions is also doomed.
You’re not going to see UNL at the top of any “best places to go to school lists” any time soon.
The secret is, though, it is.