Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

71° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Kalra: Be kind, make mistakes and don’t sweat the small stuff

There are a lot of reasons to worry in college. Maybe you didn’t do your laundry, maybe you missed an assignment, or maybe you have to choose your roommate for next year. In the moment, these things might feel like the end of the world. But, I’m only halfway through my college career, and one thing I can already tell you is that almost nothing matters as much as you think it does.

That fight you had with your friend? She’ll forget about it next week, and so will you. That Medill F you got on an assignment? You’ll re-do it, your grades will be averaged, and then it will be over. 

I see a lot of people come through The Daily who are inclined to stress about the little things. In journalism, that’s great. If that’s really how you spell his last name, if you really gave a source sufficient opportunity to respond, if you snapped at someone over the phone… All of that is arguably integral to the journalistic process.

But, I know our reporters at The Daily are kind hearted. They’re talented. So to me, the occasional mistake helps us be the teaching paper we aim to be. If a staffer is worried, they need to be reminded of that. Not reprimanded. 

If a Daily staffer asks a question, I trust it was a good one. If they miss a deadline, I know they wanted the story out on time even more than I did. Whether you be a journalist, an engineer, or a friend, making a mistake is just part of the process… especially in college. You learn by making mistakes, and you’re not going to learn anything if you do everything perfectly.

So, I’ll tell you what I tell our staffers: If someone beats you to the scoop or if you can’t get an interview, don’t worry! Almost always, that’s just how it goes. It wouldn’t be the story you need it to be if you weren’t climbing over hills and jumping through hoops to get it. Whether or not you’re interested in journalism, I know the same is true for your college career. This wouldn’t be the story you need it to be, the experience you need to grow, if every day were smooth-sailing. 

I know what it’s like to be a freshman. I know you will look at every choice you make in the first few months of the school year, and think about it the way our journalists are trained to. Are my peers beating me? Should I have talked to that person at Wildcat Welcome for longer? Are the classes I’m taking the right ones?

When you have those thoughts, I want you to think of this issue, this article. I want you to hear what I’d say to Daily staffers: Don’t worry about it. You won’t remember this class when you’re 30 (unless it’s really good). And you won’t remember falling out with your friend when you’re 30 (unless they’re still your best friend). 

My freshman year, I was diagnosed with a serious health condition. I didn’t know if I would be able to stay in school, I didn’t know how long my future would be. It made me realize that I wouldn’t remember anyone for the little mistakes they made. I’d remember them for their kindness, for the ways they’d touched my life, and for their diligence and devotion to their passions.

So, my one piece of advice for you is this: be kind, make mistakes, and don’t sweat the small stuff. You can’t learn without breaking the rules once in a while. Take risks, try new things, stand up for what you believe in, and most importantly… have fun.

XOXO,

Avani Kalra

Editor in Chief 

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