By Zainab Iqbal
Published: May 15th, 2019
I remember reading farewells of campus editors my first year of college. I remember wondering when my day would come. Well, four years later, it has arrived.
Four years ago, I was a scrawny freshman. The summer before college, I googled and researched every possible career option. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at Brooklyn College. I remember briefly watching this show on Freeform called Chasing Life. It was about this woman who finds out she has cancer. She was also a journalist. She would spend her days in the newsroom writing stories. She would go out and report, and every time she did, I would think, “Wow this is so awesome.”
I then started researching about this thing called Journalism. I was very intrigued. I realized it combined all of the things I loved to do. I loved to write. I loved to tell stories. I loved to ask questions. I loved to go run out in the street. I loved figuring out who did it before the mystery ended. I loved catching people in their lies. I just never knew there was a career for that. I decided, I’d go to the FBI. But it turns out, journalism is much cooler (especially in this administration, if you know what I mean).
When I entered school in the Fall, it was too late to enroll in a journalism course. But I was so excited. I saw that there were two campus newspaper, and I thought, “Why don’t I write for one?” I remember I was standing inside the WEB building. On a rack sat two stacks of papers—The Excelsior and the Kingsman. I remember looking at both of them and they both had advertised needing more writers. I remember thinking the name “Kingsman” sounds cool, but the Excelsior physically looks better. I picked up the Excelsior, brought it home, and emailed the editor.
In the spring of my freshman year, I started writing for this paper. I mostly wrote opinion stories; I don’t know why. Soon enough, I moved on to writing campus features and even news. My first front page story was when I interviewed Borough President Eric Adams about smart guns. I learned the craft of journalism through other students—my editors. And then the following semester, I enrolled in a journalism class and didn’t look back since.
Soon enough, I became features editor. Then managing editor. And now editor-in-chief. When I look back now, I came into Brooklyn College feeling lost. I was excited but I was lost. If it weren’t for writing for the campus paper, I am sure I would still be as lost right now.
Campus news is the most local form of local news there is. And trust me, I know local news. I have been working at Bklyner for two years now (you should subscribe). If it weren’t for The Excelsior, I wouldn’t have that job. Anyway, I think every journalism student should be writing for the campus paper. You are able to hold administration accountable. You are able to see physical change take place as a result of your reporting. It prepares you for the real world. And quite frankly, it’s super fun.
My career began at the Excelsior. And I hope it doesn’t end here. Like any soon-to-be college graduate, I am lost again. But like any human being, I’ll figure it out. I am very grateful for my friends—those I have known for three years and those who I met and our souls connected just three weeks ago. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my professors. I am grateful for Bklyner. And I am grateful for the Excelsior, that allowed me to grow and make mistakes.
I do not know what the future will hold, but I know that by being around my “gratefuls,” I will find my way.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Rumi.