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Reflections on an Eventful Year

Reflections on an Eventful Year

My Goals and What I Learned 

By Josh Beaudoin 

Hello Everyone, 

Back in my freshman year I took college writing from Jacqueline Lonning, a contract professor who currently works in the counseling and testing center. Near the middle of the year, she saw potential in my writing and encouraged me to apply to work for The Collegian. I applied, got a job as the food columnist the following school year. One thing led to another until one day, I realized I wanted to lead The Collegian. It’s fair to say that if Lonning hadn’t shown me my potential, I wouldn’t be here this year as your editor-in-chief. 

Thank you, our readers, for making this a very successful year for myself and for The Collegian. This has been without doubt one of the most exciting years of my life, as I’ve had the responsibility of shaping the tone of campus dialogue. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve gotten to share a lot of ideas that I’m passionate about with you, such as death, LGBTQ+ issues, and my thoughts on giving to charity. 

During this year, I learned several things as a leader: 

First, and perhaps the most important, is that the existence of tension within an organization can be a sign of strength. There were times when the articles we published created weren’t appreciated by everyone on campus. Just like not every student has the same perspective on any given issue, The Collegian sometimes shared voices not all students or administrators agreed with. At first, I saw this as a weakness, as I feared the people who disagreed with the articles we published might seek to damage my reputation and that of The Collegian on campus (which indeed they’ve tried). But as our interactions progressed, I started to see this tension as a sign that The Collegian was doing something right; people weren’t happy with us because we were covering topics they didn’t like, in ways they didn’t like, even though the topics needed to be talked about. We were acting as a necessary inconvenience for their growth. 

Second, I learned to get better at dealing with criticism. Whenever someone attacked The Collegian, I took it very personally. There were instances where I laid in bed fuming till late hours of the night, thinking about how unfounded a given criticism was, and arguing in my head with the person who gave it about all the reasons they were wrong. But over time, I became more skilled at embracing those attacks. 

Third, I learned how important it is to act with integrity and to stand up for myself. Earlier this year I wrote an article that received some negative attention, but was a message I truly believed needed to be heard by the student body. During a meeting with ASWWU HR about an article I defended myself with conviction and when I walked out of the meeting, I felt powerful—like there was nothing anyone could do to stop me. From that, and other situations throughout the year, I learned that if you do what you believe is right, you shouldn’t let anyone silence you! There will always be people who disagree with you and get offended at what you say. Never let your fear of their judgment hold you back. 

I also had several goals going into this year:  

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First, to make people feel uncomfortable. Last school year, I wrote an article saying that I was going to make people uncomfortable about all sorts of issues and based on the responses to many of our articles this year, The Collegian accomplished that. We covered topics that The Collegian often avoided or talked about much less about in the past such as LGBTQ+ issues.  

Second, was to grow The Collegian’s readership. We found that the best way to do that was to cover topics that were meaningful to the student body and that got people talking. Because of these efforts, our readership has grown by over 300% compared to last year. 

Third, a goal for The Collegian, but to a greater extent a goal for myself, was to finish the year having made personal connections with my staff. I had a great team of highly talented team members, and I feel like we were able to bond in a way I haven’t experienced in other organizations I’ve been a part of. They’re a very special group of people, some of whom I consider friends, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity of working with them. 

Fourth, to have most of our staff hired for the next year by the time I leave. This one hasn’t yet been accomplished. The Collegian is a great place to share your voice with the student body and express your passion and creativity. We offer flexible working hours and good pay, and the editors truly care about the well-being of the writers. If you want to apply to work with us, or want more information, you can email next year’s editor-in-chief, Ashley Herber at ashley.herber@wallawalla.edu. We’re hiring writers, editors, web managers, and designers. 

Thanks for such an awesome year!  

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