OPINION: Reflections on the Hill: the final Kalyn’s Corner

Kalyn Johnson is a columnist for the College Heights Herald. 

Kalyn Johnson


Reflections are, in short, hard pieces for me to write.

I’ve spent the last four and a half years of my life in a city that I fell in love with in 2012 during a campus tour, when the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom on a warm spring day. I call Bowling Green my home because this is the place that has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, help me find out who I truly am, while pushing me to try and make a lasting impact on every organization I join and every student I meet.

Throughout my experience working with Housing and Residence Life, I was able to grow into my own person, become separate from the dandelion that I was in 2013 and become a sunflower that searches for new opportunities. But with graduation less than a month away, nostalgia and memories of the past years has been crashing over me like hundred foot waves in the strangest of places. I’ll never forget the last bathroom stall on the first floor of Cherry Hall, remembering what it was like as a freshman to see all of the graffiti on those narrow marble stalls that are still stained with black sharpies and gel pens. I remember thinking that I made the right choice in choosing WKU because, let’s be honest, an English Department isn’t complete without quotes from Hawthorne and Dickens scribbled on bathroom stalls.

I remember picking up a copy of the College Heights Herald as a sophomore and wanting to write for the publication, but feeling as though, since I wasn’t a journalist, that I couldn’t do it. So instead I pushed myself to be an academic writer.

By my third year on the Hill I was working for another publication that is basically the step-child to BuzzFeed. The creative writer and analyst in me had an itch that that publication just couldn’t scratch. It was late July, and I had just finished an article about Muhammad Ali when I got a Facebook message from Andrew Henderson. He said he liked my writing from the previous publication and encouraged me to apply for the Herald.

As a professional writer, opinion writing isn’t something I had ever saw myself doing because in my mind it was journalism, and it still is journalism. But through writing for the Herald I found a passion in the most unlikely of places, a staff meeting. Sitting around a table with writers who had something to say and were being fueled by a world that was ever changing and relentlessly filling their heads with ideas. Most of our opinion staff weren’t journalism majors, but just good writers who had a passion area. My passion area fell under student involvement and social justice, and still does.

Becoming an opinion writer for the Herald was one of the best ways for me to find my voice in news writing and to figure out what I’m most passionate about. The Herald taught me how to take my feelings, opinions and passions, filter them through a voice and showcase how an English major can create journalistic style writing.