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Hailey Dixon was a beloved member of the University Daily Kansan.

When I graduated from high school in 2015, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. But, I took a detour.

People told me journalism wasn’t a good field to get into, it didn’t pay well and it was difficult.

I heeded that advice and enrolled at the University of Wyoming with plans to study criminal justice.

Since I worked on my high school’s newspaper, I quickly realized I missed the writing. I missed the interviews. I knew in my heart I was in the wrong field. So I moved home to Kansas and started my adventure at the University of Kansas and The University Daily Kansan. 

I am thankful for my detour, but I am ultimately grateful that it led me to where I am today — I’m a journalist, and I’m proud to be one.

In 2016, I arrived to the newsroom in tears as I was late to my interview because I couldn’t find a parking spot. I thought I was certainly toast, but my soon-to-be editor and mentor Lara Korte wrapped me up in a hug and reassured me that everything was going to be okay.

And she was right — in the end, everything turned out to be amazing.

With the Kansan, I met so many great people and worked within so many great beats. I had experiences that were once in a lifetime and ones I’ll never forget.

I appreciate and want to thank some very special individuals: Lara Korte, Conner Mitchell, Shaun Goodwin, Nicole Asbury, Sarah Wright, Chandler Boese, McKenna Harford and Huntyr Schwegman. You all are such amazing journalists and even more amazing people. Thank you all for your kindness, guidance and wisdom.

I’ll never forget my friends, coworkers and mentors throughout my time at the Kansan. You all never gave up on me, and helped shape me into the journalist I am today.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!