What I learned: A letter to myself

I meant to blog regularly to help myself keep track of the semester. Then August slipped out from under me, and September, October and November. And now here I am, facing another semester as editor in chief.

I ran uncontested again, and the word became official a while ago: I’ll return to the Arizona Daily Wildcat next spring for a second term. I’m really excited, as the page-long .pdf I sent out with my initial recruiting email might attest to, but my perspective has changed a little bit since August.

My friend (and news editor) Kyle sometimes writes notes to Future Kyle on his whiteboard. They’re usually reminders to do his homework, but sometimes Past Kyle offers himself really good advice too. So today, I’m taking a cue from Kyle.

Dear Future Kristina:

1. Despite some really low lows, the experience will be so rewarding that you won’t have the words to describe it.

So just remember to say thank you to the people who made it that way.

2. If you are not making mistakes, you are not taking enough risks.

OK. So you’ve also learned that not all of your mistakes will be because you’re putting something on the line.  Sometimes they will happen for shitty reasons or no good reason that you can think of at all.

But most of the time, they will happen because you decided to try something new, and there is always value in that, even if it doesn’t go the way you planned.

3. That said, don’t forget to learn from your successes too.

It is super easy to get tangled up in the things that you are not proud of and to grow discouraged because of them. But almost as easily, you can get untangled by taking a moment to recognize your own accomplishments and then examine them. What about them worked and why? What can you take away from those successes and apply elsewhere?

4. It doesn’t get easier, but you get better.

Having watched several editors before me, and based on my own experience as opinions editor and copy chief, I knew I’d have to give myself time to find my footing, and that the same would go for every staff member. Sometimes it feels like we’re still trying to hit our stride. And it’s really, really easy to get impatient until we see the results.

But then someone reminds me of how many new things we introduced — the web-first production schedule, the redesign of dailywildcat.com, the iPad app, Wildcat Weekend — and I am forced to remember that a semester isn’t actually a long time. So if results were mixed, it’s worth noting they’re better than they were last month, which was better than October, which was better than August. And that’s not because doing it all got easier.

Revolution is supposed to be a dramatic, gigantic leap overnight. But progress really happens in steps, and it’s always going to be one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving.

Past Kristina


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