Columnist bids farewell to readership

Roxy Hammond

Roxy Hammond

To tie up my dynasty here at SDSU, I have decided to do two columns based on my experiences here. One to reflect on the lessons I have learned as a student and a columnist, and another to specifically pass that wisdom on to anyone who cares to read it. Here is part one.

Five years ago, I found an ad in The Collegian asking for writers. My stupid freshman self – straight off the newspaper staff in high school – eagerly applied. A hippie-looking fellow named John Hult laughed at my smart ass answers on my application and hired me. The rest is history.

I have been writing a column for this paper since 2003. I have survived male editors, female editors, good editors, bad editors and I even spent a year dating the editor.

I have been called numerous bad names, been accused of being a racist and have given drunken men the perfect pick up line: “Hey, you’re that girl that writes that column, right?”

I have seen your faces change to a look of recognition when you see me on campus. Some of you carry an air of distaste, while others a simple apathy. Some of you have even gone so far as to compliment me on my writing. I have always appreciated that.

I am a seasoned Collegian columnist.

But I am not here to toot my own horn, so to speak. I have actually learned a few valuable lessons while working for the paper. Lessons I could not have learned if I had not put my face on the pages of the paper week after week. Especially without my own stupidity.

One of the hardest and fastest lessons I learned was how unforgiving people can be. When I was accused of being a racist two years ago, I was called out by the administration, I received massive amounts of hate mail and I was sent up a certain creek without a paddle by my editors. I got glared at on campus and had some of the most painfully scathing letters to the editor written to bash me.

The misfortune of this situation was that it was all over something I did not intend to do – hurt anyone. No matter how many times I attempted to tell people that no, I do not hate black people, the damage had been done; and quite frankly they did not care what I said.

It was painful to be forsaken by people who did not even know me but judged me by one mistaken sentence in a column.

Of course, this came with a silver lining as well – and another lesson. People can be incredibly kind. For the first time in my career, people wrote in to defend me. People that did not even know me were willing to put their name on the pages of the paper in my defense. That was a nice feeling, after being drug through the mud the two weeks prior to that.

This lesson was reflected last year when support for my friend came pouring in after I wrote a column about her rape. People sent money, cards, etc., all to help out a girl they read about in the newspaper. This never ceases to amaze me. While there are people out there that are willing to shoot you down, there are just as many that are willing to help you back up.

The readers of this paper have watched me grow up. Parts of my personality have been displayed on these pages during one of the most transitional and important parts of my life. My views have changed, my perspective has changed and I have changed. And many of you were brought along for the ride.

I want to thank you for that. I also want to thank those of you too who got pissed off enough to write me angry letters. Love me or hate me, you read my column, and that was the point.

So thank you, readers. Thank you for the compliments, thank you for the anger, and even thank you for the apathy. Thank you for bothering to flip open the paper to read my opinion.

And if I made The Collegian that much more tempting to read, then I will consider my work here finished. Even if it took me five long years.

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