Christopherson: College Might Not Nurture All Your Interests — But You Can


Courtesy of Nain Christopherson

By Nain Christopherson, Assistant Opinion Editor


I ended up at The Daily Utah Chronicle kind of by accident, and kind of because it was inevitable. I’m an English teaching major with an interest in grammar as well as political and social issues, so when Elise Scott — then a casual acquaintance of mine and The Chronicle’s opinion editor — tweeted about needing new writers in the spring of 2019, applying for a spot felt like merging onto the freeway with my car in neutral, propelled by gravity. I didn’t really even think about it.

I also wasn’t sure how long I’d stick around — but it felt good to see my first article show up online, and the position came with a little scholarship money. So that first semester of writing turned into three, and eventually, I wound up as an assistant editor.

I should clarify here that I’ve loved my two years at the Chrony. I love writing about issues I care about. I love collaborating with the other editors at the paper, including my friend and supervisor Sheely Edwards and my sister Gwen, who helms the photo desk. I love helping new writers blossom into thoughtful opinion journalists and learning from their work as I edit each week. And I love doing a job I’m good at — maybe even naturally suited for. Doesn’t everyone love that?

The one drawback of an extracurricular activity that is smack in the middle of my lane is that it sometimes makes me feel (and, worse, even start to believe) that I’m one-dimensional. I remember meeting someone at a party in early 2020 and telling them about myself: “Well, I’m majoring in English Teaching. I run a book club. I write poetry… and I write for the school paper.” Every item on my list came with a sense of deja vu.

I love all of those activities, though, and I’m as swamped as every other college student, so trying to branch out seemed like an unnecessary challenge. Then I got hit by a car.

It wasn’t a near-death experience by any means, but I did get knocked off my bike by a truck in March on my commute home from student teaching. Catching my fall, I broke my first bone — and realized pain isn’t worth avoiding the way I have for the last 22 years. So I borrowed my teenage brother’s neglected skateboard as soon as my sling came off and started learning to skate.

Courtesy of Nain Christopherson

Besides getting (mostly) over my fear of injury, the best thing about skateboarding — which I’ve been interested in since high school but too scared to try — is that it’s about a mile outside my typical range of interests as well as my comfort zone. I don’t look like a skater. I don’t have the resilience or guts or passion for video editing that most skaters seem to possess. I’m not 12 years old, instead an all-but-grown-up woman skating around an empty parking garage to learn some basics before I brave the skate park. But I’m finally learning, in my last month of college, to nurture my own multiplicity. For all the joys of writing and editing and teaching — the joys of my lane — I wish I’d given myself that room sooner. And I’m thrilled to be taking it now.


[email protected]