To the best team in the entire world, thank you for everything. In my very last article with Her Campus at Michigan State, I share my experience of how I ended up as the president of this amazing club — something that absolutely no one saw coming.
I was a bleary-eyed freshman in college when I discovered Her Campus. I hadn’t considered writing in college at all. I wrote poetry in high school, and I was the editor-in-chief of my high school’s literary magazine. Back then, it had seemed it was what I had thought, was the end of an era. I loved writing growing up, but now, I thought, I have to grow up. Writing was for people with free time. I was a pre-med! I had to focus on getting into medical school! What is free time, anyway? (My friends and family reading this; you probably laughed. All I talk about is being a pre-med: guilty as charged.)
One thing that carried over from high school was my love for Pinterest. To this day I still haven’t figured out how to live that aesthetic life that seems to exist on the internet, but that has never stopped me. Going on Pinterest was my form of self-care. Over the winter break of my freshman year, I found an article about how to be healthy in college. My curiosity took over me, and I clicked on it. I was really interested in the website since I had never heard of it before. Her Campus. Sounds legit.
Flash forward an hour or two, and I discovered that this website had chapters for colleges. I wonder if MSU has one. Lo and behold, they did. It seemed kind of dead, though. There weren’t very many articles, and they didn’t seem very active. I decided to send an email asking if I could join, thinking that I probably wouldn’t get a response. To my surprise, there was a response sitting at the top of my inbox the next morning. Hi Ananya, the email said. We’d love to have you!
I didn’t realize how much that email from Taylor Manley, the Editor in Chief of HCMSU at the time, was going to change my college experience. I loved HCMSU from the minute I started. I remember being so nervous when my first article came out. What are people going to think of this? Of me? Are people going to think I’m trying to be an influencer? News flash to old me, no one is going to think you’re an influencer. No one is going to think you’re strange for doing something that you love doing. And if they do, they definitely shouldn’t be in your life.
My friends and family have been so supportive from the beginning. I remember telling my parents about Her Campus and how excited I was to start writing for it. They shrugged their shoulders and told me they were happy I found something to do that wasn’t associated with schoolwork. My friends willingly listened to me coming up with ideas for articles and let me interview them when I couldn’t think of anyone else to write about.
It was the end of my freshman year when Taylor gave me a call one afternoon. I missed it, initially. I remember being terrified of Taylor. She was poised, she was so smart, and she could definitely get angry — she’s shorter than I am, so that’s saying a lot. “Hi, Ananya! I wanted to ask you about something for Her Campus. Don’t worry though; it’s not bad!”
My hands shook as I called her back. I was so worried that something had gone wrong with an article of mine or that someone may have had an issue with it. To my surprise once again, she offered me the Editor in Chief/President position for the second semester of my sophomore year. “I love the articles that you write, and you’re so passionate about this club! I wanted to ask you if you’d be willing to take my place when I graduate in December.”
I was so excited. I texted all my friends about it, and I called my parents, who were all very excited for me. Taylor had made me an assistant editor the first semester of my sophomore year, which was a position that didn’t exist prior. There were only 16 people in HCMSU at the end of my freshman year, and 5 of those people were graduating. My excitement dwindled once I realized that there was going to be absolutely no one in the club. Why is no one joining HCMSU? I’m sure there have to be more people out there that are interested in writing, I thought.
That summer, I threw myself into the preparation for Sparticipation, the annual event that Michigan State holds so that all of the organizations on campus can recruit new members— mainly freshmen. I helped send emails, write flyers, and make a poster board that detailed everything that a potential member needed to know about joining HCMSU. Taylor and I bonded the day we made that poster. She’s still someone I look up to today, a couple of years later.
At Sparticipation, I shed whatever sense of shyness I had and approached anyone who came to the table. “Hi!” I said. “Do you like writing? Come check out our table!” By the end of the day, we had 40 people who signed up, almost quadrupling our current number of members at the time. Taylor and I were elated. We worked side by side to edit and publish articles on time. I think I was spending almost 8 to 10 hours a week on editing and publishing, in addition to the classwork and other extracurricular activities I participated in. Looking back on it now, I have no idea how I managed all these responsibilities. I think it was my passion for the club that really kept me going.
I panicked profusely when Taylor graduated. She always knew what she was doing and was always ready to resolve a conflict. I didn’t know how to be president of such a large club. I laugh thinking about this now, as our team has grown to nearly 150 members in my short year as president. Nonetheless, I faced my fears and jumped into the deep end. Trying to run a club on my own was exhausting but rewarding. I handpicked my E-Board members, trusting that they would meet my expectations. They exceeded them.
Someone who I have to thank is Maria De Fortuny. She has been the head of all of the HCMSU social media for the past two years that I have been in HCMSU. She took on everything I asked of her. We grew the HCMSU Instagram from just a few hundred followers to over 1500 followers in a year as well.
I also couldn’t have done things without Kelsi Karpinski, my current co-campus correspondent. She was HCMSU’s second-ever assistant editor and is now the Vice President. She is HCMSU’s newest president, and I couldn’t be prouder.
Additionally, I have to thank Kaytlyn Gannon, our events director. She, alongside the rest of our events team, managed to bring a group of 160 closer together through the amazing events they’ve put on for us. It’s even harder to think about how this all had to be done virtually. I am so excited for her to be HCMSU’s next co-campus correspondent.
Every single person who has held an E-Board position for HCMSU has a piece of my heart. They have all put in so much time and effort to help me run this club without me ever having to ask. Our events team, social media team, and editing team have held HCMSU together, and we wouldn’t exist without them.
Every HCMSU member has contributed to something bigger and better. It’s challenging to put your thoughts out there sometimes, and every single person has always blown me away by the complexities and intricacies of their writing. I am so grateful for the work they have done through their writing and beyond. We, as a team, have contributed to and raised awareness for so many different causes, and I am so proud.
It was bittersweet to end my last HCMSU meeting. I stumbled over my words as I realized that this era was coming to an end. Before I could even process it, the chatbox was flooded with messages, wishing me well and thanking me for everything.
I never expected to be leading such a large group of people. I never expected that I would meet so many people who were kind and hardworking. I never realized that I would personally have an impact on those people, either. I just wanted to do something I was passionate about. The biggest gift that HCMSU has ever given me is the ability to inspire other people to chase their passions.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you. I will never have enough words to describe all of the emotions I feel about HCMSU, but if I could summarize it in one word, it would be gratitude. I am so excited to pass on the torch to the incoming E-Board, and I can’t wait to see what they do with this amazing club.