Transfer student reflects on two years at the Star

By Ally Formeller

Being a transfer student during COVID, I didn’t get to spend as much time at the Northern Star as I would have liked. 

I joined the Northern Star in my junior year. I wouldn’t call myself a seasoned journalist, but I’ve been a part of a few newsrooms before joining the Star.

Somehow, that didn’t make me more confident in joining — I was new to campus, and I didn’t know anyone. 

I guess two years makes all the difference. In that time, I’ve been a podcast host, an opinion columnist and a news reporter, sometimes all at once.

If not for my editors and fellow reporters, I wouldn’t be half the journalist I am today. 

Co-hosting the Ruff Talk podcast not only gave me some of my favorite memories, it also pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. 

It helped me grow not only as a journalist, but as a person; I learned how to find my own voice — and put up with hearing it played back over and over and over.

Noah Silver, Jerome Perales, Davione Barrow and Zak Ahmed: goofing off with you all in the studio gave me some great memories, and I am so grateful that you all helped welcome me to the Northern Star my first semester on staff.

Writing for opinion was a challenge for me, albeit a self-imposed one. Coming into the opinion section, I knew nothing. I had never written a column before, and I wanted to try something new. Thank you to my editors Yari Tapia, Brionna Belcher and Summer Fitzgerald for respectfully helping me learn how to actually write an opinion column. 

Somehow, I felt more comfortable writing news reports, where I didn’t have to share my own thoughts and opinions. Still, I learned a lot this past semester: first and foremost, always remember to put “DeKALB—” at the beginning of a story, and always text Elisa Reamer back. 

On a more serious note, I don’t think I felt proud of any of my work until I started writing for news. Looking back, I was probably just being too hard on myself, I’ve written some great opinions, too. Nonetheless, thank you, Elisa, for not letting me take on too much this semester and being so understanding with deadlines. It helped me find better sources and write better news stories — ones that even I can be proud of. 

Finally, I want to thank our staff advisor, Shelley Hendricks. I always looked forward to our weekly meetings. While I didn’t always like hearing your criticism of my stories, I needed to hear it. On the flip side, knowing I had a great story to present to you always made me feel good and validated my ability to write well. Shelley, you have truly helped me realize my potential as a journalist, and made me want to work that much harder to be the journalist I know I can be. 

In the past two years, I’ve written a lot. There are plenty of stories I’m proud of, and just as many that could’ve been better. Regardless, I’m grateful for my experience at the Northern Star. I’m not only grateful for what I’ve learned, but for the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with and becoming friends with. I’m grateful for the memories I got to make with my fellow journalists and friends. 

Not taking the leap and applying sooner is my only regret from my time at the Star. In my two years in the newsroom, I’ve made some great friends, learned a lot about myself and written some great stories. 

My time in Campus Life Suite 130 will always be a cherished memory, and I will always be grateful for the people I got to spend these last two years with. 

The lessons I’ve learned and the friendships I’ve made at the Star will be ones that I keep with me forever. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional wreck I’d be as my time at the Star comes to a close. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.