Marena Sever is a sophomore from Scottsdale, Arizona. She is double-majoring in political science and journalism on the news and information track. Her mom is a graduate of KU and after being raised on Kansas basketball, Marena always knew she wanted to be a Jayhawk. Her favorite campus activities include being on the executive council for her sorority and debating on Take a Side, a weekly sports show produced through Media Crossroads in the J-School.
I had to grow up pretty fast as a kid because there were a lot of adult things happening around me I couldn’t get away from. Not only did that teach me how to be resilient, but those experiences when I was young made me better equipped to empathize with others and put myself in their shoes. I try to do everything through this lens of empathy and compassion because they are both so important, especially when applied to journalism where you’re dealing with real, everyday people and their stories.
I chose to major in journalism because I knew a career in the field would be challenging and keep me on my toes. No two days are the same because what the news is and how we tell it is always changing. Many of my favorite things growing up— theater, music, reading, writing—all had one major thing in common, which is storytelling. I realized journalism would allow me to pursue that in an exciting, fast-paced way, and I know I made the right decision.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the J-School now is how incredible its renovation turned out. The updates that were made are even more conducive to student engagement, and I love now having the broadcast studio on site.
My favorite memory at KU was going to my first basketball game. Nothing could have prepared me for how intense that atmosphere is, and I had so much fun that day.
High school me would faint if she heard me saying this now, but I’d love to live back home in Arizona in the future. When I was growing up all I wanted to do was leave, but nothing made me appreciate living in Arizona like not living there when I moved away for school. Phoenix has the big-city atmosphere I’ve always seen myself living in, in addition to a great media market with so much opportunity. There’s also the added bonus that, as a massive sports fan, I wouldn’t have to keep supporting my hometown teams from across the country.
My mom used to always tell me that success is the best form of revenge. She obviously didn’t come up with the saying, but she ingrained it into me and it’s the reason why I don’t fixate on negative people or things. Sometimes the best, most satisfying way to prove people who doubted you wrong is to just work as hard as you possibly can to make sure you end up successful. It’s very motivating.
If you’re considering the J-School, you should know that the professors here genuinely care about their students’ success. They will push you to do well, they want to get to know you and they will provide you with countless opportunities to learn hands-on and get involved. Every journalism professor I’ve had has been extremely accessible, helpful and encouraging at all times. Another good thing to know before going into journalism is that you’re going to have to learn to stop using the Oxford comma in your writing. If you’re like me, this will be a tough pill to swallow, and you will struggle with it for a while. But I believe in you.