By Megan Brewer —

I’ve written around 4o opinions. I’ve written about Christmas being a superior holiday and all the holiday haters should go away. I’ve written about presidents, transparency and national titles.

I won a first place award from an article titled “It’s time to give David Grissom the boot.” I once got asked if I got injured in a horrific backyard barbecue because I wrote about my favorite and least favorite foods, but I guess I deserved it for not liking hamburger.

I’ve written some brews as well, but this will be the final one, with an added touch of advice.

I stepped up to the plate and wrote opinion pieces for over a year. I got called dumb and asked what I was thinking to write pieces like that. I called out the university that I attend on multiple occasions.

If there’s anything I learned it’s that you can’t be afraid to put your voice out there. You can’t be afraid to call people out when they aren’t doing things by the book.

You can’t be afraid to have people disagree with you. In everything I published, there was never a time when everyone agreed with me.

I learned to take the heat, the rude comments, and improve my writing. I wrote opinions for The Cardinal for more than a year, and if I learned anything, it’s to not be afraid to state what I believe.

I spent over a year at The Cardinal and now my time here is coming to an end, but I’ve learned to be myself. I’ve learned that I can be the writer I always dreamed to be, and I can do it well. I learned that all it takes is being yourself (and a little added salt).

Life isn’t about finding the one thing you’re meant to do for the rest of your life at age 16 and doing it forever. It’s about trial and error. I wrote for The Cardinal for over a year, and journalism was the career path I wanted to pursue.

Here I am a year later realizing that this is not what I want to do. I’m saying my farewell to the opinion section, and it’s only because through my time at The Cardinal I realize that’s something I can do.

The saying: “it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be,” however that goes, is true. I opened a door of writing and finding my voice when I started at The Cardinal. A year later I’m closing a door because I’ve learned that having my voice in all things in my life means that’s something I’m allowed to do.

If I could tell anything to incoming freshmen or sophomores trying to figure out a major, or juniors worried about internships, or seniors wondering what they’ll do after they graduate, I’d tell them to follow their heart.

It’s never too late to change your mind and it’s never too late to decide that the career path you wanted isn’t what you want anymore. If I could go back and do it all over again, I wouldn’t change my time at The Cardinal.

I would’ve spent more time exploring other career fields I was interested in, though. If I could encourage young freshmen to do anything before they choose a major it would be to job-shadow all the people they can before they pick a major. A job may seem cool in a job description on Google, but I promise it doesn’t compare to the real thing.

At The Cardinal it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns; I argued with my coworkers, but I met some of the best people in my life here. Part of finding your voice is finding people that allow you to use it. I found my people at The Cardinal. They’re the people I got to experience getting lost trying to go to Lexington and facing a rainy Derby head-on and so much more.

The only other thing I could encourage first or second-year college students to do is to find a place, a group, club or sport, that allows you to find and use your voice.

Once you find that place, use your voice in all places of your life. Stand up for yourself and don’t be afraid to open and close some doors from time to time.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal