Munce: Suddenly, you’re already doing it

Megan Munce, Senior Staffer

Graduation Issue 2022

When I applied to Northwestern, my parents had never heard of the school before. I didn’t know anyone who had gone before, and the only impression I had was a tour on a deceivingly warm day in October. 

The first alum I ever talked to was my interviewer: an exceptionally kind woman who, upon learning I wanted to cover local government, said, “Well, you don’t actually want to be a journalist, do you?”

From that day until my junior year, most of what I heard about being a professional journalist were horror stories — long hours, low pay, undiverse newsrooms and harassment on the internet. When I watched the reactions to The Daily’s coverage of Jeff Sessions’s visit in 2019, I thought I was certain: I would never have what it took to be a journalist. 

Here’s the catch: by my junior year at Northwestern, I had already been a journalist for three years. Because of The Daily, I covered the Abolish Greek Life movement, the University’s ever-changing COVID-19 policies and even one wrestling match (shoutout Andrew Golden). I interviewed school administrators, Pulitzer Prize-winning alumni and incredible student artists. I knew that an SEO headline should be under 72 characters, that em dashes are always the answer and that judgment is never spelled with an “e.”

The Daily was the first place journalism didn’t feel quite so scary. Somewhere between the Dum Dums overindulgence and the late-night Hot Pockets from the Norris C-Store, I got Pavlov-ed into enjoying hunting through Facebook to confirm the spelling of someone’s name or staying up until 2 a.m. waiting to post City Council stories online. 

That’s not to say that my imposter syndrome didn’t follow me into The Daily. But it is to say that there were enough people cheering me on to make me ignore it — whether it was Sneha Dey encouraging me to take an Audre Lorde class, Daisy Conant and Yunkyo Kim writing ridiculous budget emails with me, Greg Svirnovskiy trying to sell edit board on toe-socks-as-shoes or the many, many other people who made the long nights worth it. In particular, I’m incredibly grateful for all of the Asian American women I had to look up to: Catherine Kim, Maddie Burakoff, Marissa Martinez, Sneha Dey and so many more. 

Maybe the idea of being a journalist is supposed to be scary because being a journalist is an incredibly important and oftentimes difficult job. Afterall, my time at The Daily wouldn’t have been as formative without the mistakes I made, learned from and will never make again. But they, like everything and everyone else at The Daily, are part of my journey toward falling in love with journalism. 

Under my nose, The Daily taught me how to work past my fear by making me do the very thing I was scared of: being a journalist. Sometimes when you’re scared of doing something, it’s hard to notice that you’ve already been doing it all along. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @meganmuncie