Lessons learned in Texas

I went back to Lawrence in May to walk down the hill for graduation — another thing that kept me too busy to blog.

In February, I landed a job as the sports copy editor at The Bryan-College Station Eagle and moved down to Texas. In the chaos of moving, learning the new job and adjusting to life in a new place, updates to my website came to a screeching halt. Here’s what I learned while I was too busy to blog.

Aggies are weird, but I love them.
College Station is a lot like Lawrence: similar size, similar demographics, similar abundance of bars. But some days, Aggieland feels like a different world. Texas A&M is defined by all of its unique traditions, and Aggies take them very seriously. My favorite thing about Aggies is their intense devotion to their school; I love that they have such a strong identity. But I often feel like an outsider and A&M grads have said some really offensive things to me about Kansas on more than one occasion — as if their school is the only school worth going to. Learning to interact with Aggies is an ongoing process, but they’re a fun bunch.

My first home in Texas. The pink brick is surprisingly common around here.

The generation gap in newsrooms is not what I thought.
Everyone at The Eagle is competent with computers and the Web. The differences between me and the older employees are more subtle: I struggle with landline phones because I only used them regularly for about five years of my life before I started using only cell phones. Yet my boss other employees who are older than me seemed surprised when I had so little trouble sending stories to the Web and dealing with our content management system. It’s far and away the easiest part of my job. What was most surprising, though, is that the gap appears with only a small difference in age — sometimes just five or 10 years. Don’t get me wrong: All of my coworkers know what they’re doing when it comes to content management, search-engine optimization, and social media. But they all had to learn it sometime after they learned how to write, edit and design, while I’ve never known any other way.

You never get used to the heat.
I had to switch to my summer wardrobe in March. The temperature hit 90 degrees in April, and we’ve already had a few 100-degree days. It’s not much hotter than Kansas, but it stays hot for most of the year. I’ve accepted the heat. I drink plenty of water and put a sun shade in my car’s windshield and wear dresses to work instead of pants. But I’ll never get used to it.

You have to evolve.
The site was a project for Doug Ward’s advanced copy editing class at KU. Its primary purpose has always been to show potential employers my clips and demonstrate some basic understanding of Web publishing and content management systems. Now that I have a job, I’m working on re-purposing the site so I can continue writing. Look for changes later this month.

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