It truly is my destiny to be pursuing a journalism major. As a child I was constantly reading — I would follow my mom around the grocery story with a book pressed against my nose. I loved everything about reading, which could have made me an odd kid in the eyes of others my age, but I didn't care.
I loved that a book could take you to a completely different time and place; that was probably my favorite part (besides the way books smelled — that was pretty amazing if you asked me). When you open a book and get that first whiff of the pages and the binding you almost get a glimpse of the history behind the book and who’s read it before you.
I was in middle school when I decided I would write my own book. This task was not for the distant future; I was going to accomplish it as a pre-teen. I spent countless long nights on my laptop coming up with story after story and plot after plot. Although none of my books ever made it past a few chapters, it never deterred me from wanting to write.
As soon as I could be a part of my high school's yearbook staff, there I was interviewing my peers, taking photos of the swim team and learning the ropes of journalism. I wanted to try every aspect of what my high school had to offer in terms of journalism, so I switched to newspaper. I quickly learned about the fast-paced world of news journalism.
As many young adults approach their college careers there can be an identity crisis that comes with that. This is sort of what I experienced. I went into my first year of college at Southeast as a psychology major thinking I wanted to do something along the lines of art therapy. This short-lived dream faded when I realized I didn't want to get my PhD, which is what the dean of the psychology department told me I must accomplish if I wanted anything to do with art therapy. I wasn't glued to the career path, so I went undecided for a bit. As my first year was coming to a close I got scared on what my life would amount to if I didn't have a major chosen by the time I entered my second year, so I randomly chose exceptional child education. This lasted almost my entire second year of school until one day I realized the 9-to-5 life was not for me. After a full-blown panic attack and a long phone call with my mother, I knew what I had to do: I had to stick to what I was passionate about, not what was safe.
I immediately (and confidently) changed my major to mass communications: multimedia journalism. And I hit the ground running.
There is a point to all of this: I'm currently attempting (and succeeding) to cram a four-year program into two years. It took me a second to figure out where my path was, but now that I'm on it, there is absolutely nothing that could stop me, and for feeling that way, I have to give much credit to those near and dear to me.
My family and wonderful advisor, Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, have been such great support through all of this.
I don't know how many emails I've sent back and forth, how many meetings or how many anxiety attacks I've shared with Dr. Buck, but she was definitely a rock through this whole thing and helped me accomplish what I wanted to in the time I wanted to.
My mom has been with me every step of the way, and I absolutely could not have done any of this without her. I’m so thankful to have both of these strong women in my life to have helped guide me along my way and show me what it means to be an independent woman both in the workplace and out.
This journey of mine isn't over, but it is mine and it's beautiful. The best decision I've ever made was deciding to take that risk for what I'm passionate about. I love journalism, I love what I do. A year ago I was grasping what the world of journalism looked like again, and in between then and now I've become so involved that I earned myself a paid staff position with the Arrow.
Sometimes it's hard to believe that I am where I am, but I think that's because I rarely stop and think about how far I've come. It’s hard for me to grasp the idea that it’s OK for me to be proud of myself, but it is. It totally is OK for me to be proud of who I am and where I came from and how I got to where I am in life. I still have a long way to go, but I am so ready for it.