Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian


Opinion: Maybe school wasn’t so bad

Dylan Gonzales/The Collegian
Opinion Editor Dylan Gonzales stands outside of The Collegian office after graduating on May 17.

In August of 2007, I was a 5-year-old getting ready for my first day of kindergarten at Fort Washington Elementary School. Now, nearly 17 years later, I graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelor’s degree in media, communications and journalism (MCJ) and am now getting ready to enter the real world.

Growing up, I never really loved school, except for having recess and getting to see my friends.

During this past semester, it never set in that this was my last time in a school setting as a student. But as May 17 kept getting closer and closer, I did a lot of reflecting on the last few weeks of the past 16 years of my life. The most important thing I realized was that nearly all of the best memories of my life so far happened because of school and the people I met there.

While reflecting, many memories that I thought I had forgotten came back into my mind. Two of the best ones were when my fourth-grade class had a recess soccer competition, with the winning class getting a pizza party.

I remember some of my closest friends were in the opposing class, and we didn’t talk to each other for those two weeks.

Even though my class lost, it’s memories like that will staywith me forever.

The second memory was the summer of 2016 before going into high school. My friends and I all took summer school to get ahead. I remember all of those “study” hangouts that ended with us not getting anything done and then having to cram the day before I took the test.

As many of you can relate, my school career had many ups and downs. From the lows of struggling to find a friend group, I could fit into during high school at Clovis West to the highs of discovering my love and passion for journalism here at Fresno State.

Through it all, I’m so thankful it all happened, both the highs and the lows. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t be who I am today without everything I’ve learned and experienced over the past 16 years.

I was always a quiet kid growing up, but I never struggled with finding friends in elementary and middle school while at Kastner Intermediate.

Even though I always had friends in high school, I bounced around between different friend groups and didn’t feel particularly close to either of them.

This made it tough when school was shut down in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since I wasn’t really close with either group, I was left out of plans as they hung out over the summer.

I entered college in the fall of 2020 with new hope and a chance for a new start. I really don’t remember much from my freshman year since it was all online because of the pandemic.

When I was finally able to come back to school during my sophomore year, I thought I would finally enjoy school life, but it was also uninteresting.

Except for a class I took called MCJ 2, which was media writing. This was my first experience with journalism. The class was fun, but I wasn’t a good writer when I first started.

At the end of that school year, I got an email from my MCJ 2 professor urging me to join The Collegian, the student-run newspaper at Fresno State.

When I joined in the fall of 2022, I was a contributor who was still unsure of what I wanted to be. Even the next semester, when I became a paid reporter in the spring, I was uncertain that journalism was truly what I wanted in life.

Then, that summer, I decided that I was going to take this seriously and truly dedicate myself to journalism and be the best I could be.

Prior to the fall semester in 2023, I primarily wrote about sports, which was by far my strongest writing topic. I had dabbled in other sections, but I felt like I didn’t do a good job but put forth my best effort when writing about non-sports stories.

After the mindset change in the summer, I felt motivated to write more non-sports stories and give 110% to each story I wrote.

I believe I did that, as my two strongest stories weren’t about sports. One of my first stories that semester was about the aftermath of the Maui fires focused on a Fresno State student who was on the island during the fires. My second was a feature on Victor E IV.

While I never struggled with deadlines and getting out stories, I wasn’t sure if I was actually doing a good job until after when the Victor E feature won a Best of SNO award, an honor given by the web-hosting company that serves The Collegian and many of the other collegiate newspaper websites across the country.

Seeing the “Best of SNO” graphic above the headline of my story finally gave me confidence in my abilities as a writer, and felt gratifying knowing that my stories make a difference in the communities.

As I was entering my final semester, I saw The Collegian was opening up a new Opinion Editor position. I was hesitant to apply at first because I only had one semester left and thought maybe they’d want someone who has more time to grow into the position, but I still went for it

I got the position and am so grateful for having people believe in my abilities. With it being a new position, there was a learning curve as I had no one prior to help ease me into the position. I hope I did a good enough job so the next Opinion Editor can start strong and continue to build the opinion section.

As my career at The Collegian concludes, I’m so appreciative of everyone I’ve worked with during my time here. Saying thank you to them will never be enough. I hope I inspired them as much as they inspired me.

So, as my time as a student ended and I spent time reflecting on my past 16 years, I came to this realization: maybe school wasn’t so bad.

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  • K

    Katerina AleksenkoMay 20, 2024 at 10:48 am

    Love it! Totally relatable! Congrats on finding your passion within the MCJ department, I’m excited to see how you take your skills into the world! 🌎🥳