Impact of wise decisions; what I learned at the CWBy Ashanka Kumari | 04/22/2013 11:00pm
Although I’ve written more than 100 news articles and almost that many papers for classes over the last four years, this column has definitely been one of the hardest. Bear with me.
I’ve been fortunate to have many opportunities during my time at The University of Alabama. From witnessing the Tide win three national championships in four years to interning in Barcelona, Spain, these experiences were a direct reflection of the choices I made early on. I knew I needed to choose wisely, and I was determined to get the most out of my undergraduate experience.
So, I joined the Million Dollar Band. This meant I had chosen to give up the majority of my time to rehearsals, gamedays and working with more than 400 outstanding men and women. It also meant having the largest support system I could ever ask for.
That was the best decision I had made, until I chose to write for The Crimson White at the beginning of my sophomore year – then I was set.
I expected to write one or two articles a month over the semester, but quickly learned that was below the amount of work required. I was also scared by the prospect of thousands of strangers reading my attempt at writing news.
I still remember my first major article in the paper – it was about the Avanti Team selection process. I remember revising it repeatedly before submitting it to the news desk, because I thought I would be fired on the spot if I made any kind of mistake – though this has never been the way this newspaper operates. Editors at the CW have helped me improve as a journalist through their patience, willingness to read my writing and honesty in criticism so I could do better.
When I saw my article in print the next day, I finally began to feel like a journalist. I was so proud to have my work published. But this was just the beginning.
At the end of my first year at the CW came the April 27, 2011 tornado. The year came to an abrupt end. While I wasn’t able to stay in Tuscaloosa and contribute to the incredible journalism that took place following the tornado, I remember spending hours a day on cw.ua.edu reading each new word as it became available. Like many, I craved news about the aftermath of the tornado. But I digress.
When I came back for my third year at the Capstone, I worked harder to get published. To this day, my fifth semester was the busiest time of my undergraduate career. Balancing band, 18-plus hours of classes and writing articles almost daily was difficult at times, but I loved every minute.
Fortunately, hard work leads to rewards. By the end of my junior year, I was named the chief copy editor of the 119th volume of The Crimson White.
So, here I am today. I have read, edited and reread almost every article you have seen in print and online this past year. I can honestly say it’s been one heck of a news year from changing University presidents (twice) to wide-scale drug busts on campus to a horrendous display on the Quad.
I could never have survived the long nights of editing without the help of my incredible staff of copy editors. To Christopher Edmunds, Larsen Lien, Beth Lindly, Lauren Pratt, Kelcey Sexton and Eliza Sheffield, thank you for putting up with me this year, even when I was at my craziest.
I also want to express my gratitude to the many people I have met and worked with here. I have learned more from my time working at The Crimson White than in any journalism classroom. Thank you for making me love my job.
My time at the Capstone has been unforgettable and packed with numerous experiences, to say the least. Joining The Crimson White has been one of the best decisions I ever made, and for that I am grateful. When I begin graduate school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln next fall, it will be strange not coming into this office each day.
I’ve always been terrible at writing endings. Goodbye CW, stay classy Tuscaloosa and Roll Tide.
Ashanka Kumari was the chief copy editor of The Crimson White for the 2012-2013 year.