From the Editor: My journey at KPU

Kyler Emerson is the Editor in Chief of KPU's student paper The Runner. (Emilio Saenz-Saldaña)

Kyler Emerson is the Editor in Chief of KPU’s student paper The Runner. (Emilio Saenz-Saldaña)

I have been at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for seven years, and I am now in my final semester. 

I first joined the university in the fall semester of 2015 to study psychology. I wanted to be a counsellor to help people. As I advanced in the program, I began struggling to pass, because the classes weren’t making me happy. 

I briefly turned to sociology and criminology. I enjoyed the classes, but not the subject. I began to realize that I suck at science, and I already knew I sucked at math. However, I knew I could write. 

I took a few English classes and enjoyed the content, but not the writing style. I considered transferring to a different post-secondary institution, thinking that would help me. I met with an advisor at another university who suggested I stay at KPU and try their journalism program after speaking with me for only 10 minutes. 

In 2017, I took two communications courses and passed with high grades and happy smiles. So I took my first journalism courses, and slowly my grades increased and my time at KPU changed. 

An interdisciplinary expressive arts instructor encouraged me to apply for the Kwantlen Faculty Art Contest in 2017. I came second place for my photography submission. 

Through a class visit by the then editors, Aly Laube and Braden Klassen, I learned of our student paper The Runner. My first article was about Remembrance Day in 2018, and then I got intimidated and didn’t write again until several months later. 

I quit my office job in 2019, and coincidentally saw The Runner was hiring for two writer positions and an Outreach Coordinator. I applied, willing to do any of them, and I was hired as The Runner’s first and so far only Outreach Coordinator. By that point, I knew journalism was what I wanted to do.  

I wrote a lot in my first year with The Runner while we were online due to the pandemic. While writing and attending journalism classes, I realized I wanted to be an editor. 

Our Editor in Chief before me and my friend, Nicole Gonzalez Filos, was voted into the role in 2020, and I applied for Associate Editor. I worked with Nicole and Braden for the past two years, supporting them to run our paper online until they moved on earlier this year. I was voted into the Editor in Chief role soon after. 

KPU has unexpected experiences. There is room to grow, to learn and make mistakes. Take a chance on an opportunity because it may just change your path for the better. I never expected to be Editor in Chief, I just knew I wanted editing experience. But I wouldn’t change anything. I’m grateful to be a part of this incredible team for three years, and honored to fill my role. 

I changed my study path several times. It just takes time for some people, and that is completely okay. Once I committed to a program, it took five years to finish. That’s okay too. By not pushing myself and studying myself to the bone, I had energy to make life-long friendships, meet my partner, hike in my free time, and find a job I love that has given me invaluable experience a classroom could not provide. 

If you are a student interested in journalism writing, I highly encourage you to reach out to me and we will get you started. And I promise not to bite!