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100 Articles Later: One Writer’s Journey Through HC

I first heard of Her Campus just before I started classes my freshman year at UW Stout. I talked to members at their booth during the fall involvement fair, but it seemed like a lot of commitment, so I joined Rugby and Student Government instead. And I didn’t think about Her Campus again until years later when I became friends with a girl in class, and we would talk about our extracurriculars on the walk back to our houses at the end of the day. She was pretty involved with Her Campus, and I had no idea what they did, but I was intimidated by how she spoke of the girls in the organization. I couldn’t imagine a room full of journalism majors would appreciate a business student crashing their party. A few months later, I was lucky enough to have a chance encounter that resulted in meeting one of my best friends, the President of Her Campus Stout.

I became friends with a handful of girls from the organization before I had ever gone to a meeting. And it wasn’t until a group of us were at a bar downtown that I actually considered joining. I was incredibly hesitant to join any organization at that point in my college career, I had just spent over two years in student government, and couldn’t imagine getting wrapped up in something else. But after a few Moscow Mules, you’re up for almost anything, especially taking the reigns of the Chapter’s alcohol content. 

From that point on, I went to biweekly general meetings, wrote quirky articles about getting hammered, and went along my merry way. At the end of the semester, with just ten articles to my name, my bestie encouraged me to run for a leadership position in the chapter for the next year. I was again extremely hesitant, as previous experience being an organization executive had taken a lot out of me. But I agreed, and wound up being the incoming Senior Editor and Events Director because I’ve always had trouble choosing between two things. To make things a little more interesting, I was also approached to take on more leadership as one of the organization’s Campus Correspondents (the equivalent of a President), and serve as a liaison between my campus and our National Affiliates. 

Coming back to campus in the fall, I had to hit the ground running with publishing content. We didn’t even have a full writing team for a few weeks. I had produced ten articles over the previous semester, but this time around I was producing the same content in just a matter of days. And I didn’t realize how much that would change my writing style for Her Campus articles. I used to say that it took an average of six hours to produce one of my articles; factoring in the research, the applications, drafting, writing, and editing. I couldn’t have imagined that it was possible to write anything in less than 30 minutes. Another thing that is surprising to look back on is that I’m not the alcohol writer that I started out as any more. I wrote a few alcohol pieces in the first few weeks of the year, but I quickly moved on to satire, and listicles integrating pop culture and lifestyle. Even though I thought I would stick to alcohol writing exclusively, I couldn’t be prepared for how much I could fall in love with other topics, such as sports, women’s empowerment, and even video games. 

You could ask any writer and they’ll probably tell you that the writing process is a journey, that you’re not the same writer, or even the same person at the end of it all. When I started at Stout, or even back when I started in Her Campus, I couldn’t have imagined where this would all bring me today. Over a year later, and I can claim the special honor of having been quoted in the Huffington Post and having articles retweeted by sports journalists. It’s is an odyssey that I wouldn’t trade for the world. 

Stephanie Zengler is a Business Administration major and Communication Studies minor, and she completely understands if you think her last name is actually Ziegler. Like a lot of business majors, Stephanie has a favorite Andrew Carnegie quote, and like a good communication minor, has very strong opinions on the Oxford comma. Aside from being a Stout student, Stephanie is an avid fan of Bay Area sports, Fleetwood Mac, and the amazingly perfect show Dollface.
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