Writer’s block: Meeting new people in a new job

Meeting new people can be exhausting, especially if you meet a large group of people all at once, like many students and teachers did this week on the first day of school.

Olivia Koester
Olivia Koester

It can be challenging to put names and faces together when you have an entire classroom of strangers to keep straight.

This is the first year that I don’t have any back-to-school jitters because for the first time, I’m not returning to school.

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield this May. It still feels like I should be heading back to campus, buying up notebooks, pencils, folders and markers – school supply shopping is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Even though I won’t be reporting for the first day of class, meeting hordes of professors and peers, I’m not off the hook. Now, I’m reporting on the first day of school!

Aug. 26 was my first day as a reporter at ABC Newspapers. I quickly met more people than I can count, not only in the office, but also in the community. I’ve got swarms of colleagues and an entire county with whom to become acquainted.

You will see me out and about, primarily covering the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts, as well as the city of Spring Lake Park.

Just because I’m a recent graduate and new to ABC doesn’t mean that I’m new to the news game. I was the editor of St. Olaf’s weekly newspaper, The Manitou Messenger, and I’ve had two intensive reporting internships with daily papers in Faribault and Racine, Wis.

I’ve covered a little bit of everything. Journalism is for me because I like learning something new every day. There is never a dull moment, and I get to meet so many interesting people. I love sharing people’s stories.

Here’s my story:

I hail from Boscobel, Wis., a teeny-tiny town in the southwest corner of the state, population 3,000. My father is a Lutheran pastor and my mom is a bookkeeper at the local pharmacy.

I’m an only child, but don’t believe what they say! I’m not too spoiled …. I’m very close to my family, many of whom live in the Chicago and Twin Cities areas.

I’ve always been interested in music, theater and dance. I love to sing – though not enough to audition for the renowned St. Olaf Choir.

I played the piano and the oboe, but, admittedly, I chose the latter instrument in fifth grade only because it started with an “O,” like my name. Not one of my best ideas.

I’ve been involved in musical theater since I was young, playing Cinderella, Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” and Wendy of “Peter Pan” fame, among other roles.

In the future, I hope to travel the world, or at least some of it. I made it to London two years ago to take a class on theater through St. Olaf. I went to about 25 plays in one month, an unforgettable experience.

Of course, in my spare time, I love reading and writing. When I’m not devouring the news, I indulge in Jodi Picoult’s novels, which I would describe as part courtroom drama, part romance and part social commentary.

My favorite movie is, hands down, “Funny Girl,” starring Barbra Streisand. I could watch it over and over again.

I’ve started to call myself a Twins fan, upsetting my friends back home who are very loyal to the Brew Crew.

I try to hit Leeann Chin for orange chicken and cream cheese puffs every Friday, so maybe I’ll see you there sometime!

That’s just a snippet of who I am, and I hope you all can get to know me better in the coming months and years. I can’t wait to get to know you!

I am so excited to serve this community as a reporter, documenting everyday life and special occasions. I am thankful for the warm welcome I have received from many of you in these first days on the job. Just remember, with so many new faces, I might be a little confused at first. I might not recognize you right away. But in time, new faces will become old and familiar. I await that day eagerly.

Olivia Koester can be reached at [email protected]