Day one did not go according to plan.
While on my first assignment covering a story on a recent trip to the Subiaco Abbey, I accidently “misplaced” my reporter’s notebook. Refusing the idea of looking stupid and asking for another interview, I committed an unforgivable cardinal sin: I recited everything from memory, one week later.
Needless to say, that was the worst decision ever made by a rookie journalist.
Since then I have grown.
Four years later, I am on my way out the door with my head held high. Who would have known that someone like me, a first generation American, would have survived all the challenges John Brown University threw at me? Yet, regardless of what statistics say about how I am doomed to fail because of my broken home background, I continue to thrive and not only make a name for myself, but for my family.
College taught me a range of academic things from formatting a bibliography MLA style to properly kerning the letters in the headline of the newspaper. However, no other class did more for me than my beloved college newspaper, The Threefold Advocate.
Man, was I in for a nice surprise the day I decided to declare myself as journalism major. Within my first semester, The Threefold broke me and she broke me good. The weekly critique of how terribly structured my stories were soon made me question my field of study.
Nevertheless, I soon adapted to being a journalist first and a student second and started to skip class to make sure that last student’s voice was heard. Of course, my grades plummeted and I lost scholarships but it was all for the love of news.
The people that I have worked with, my brothers and sisters, during these last years are the ones I will miss the most. The late production nights fueled by caffeine and spontaneous dancing were well worth it as we all strived towards the same goal, being the watchdogs of the community.
Journalism also gave me something I never had before, a voice.
It is impossible to write a story without letting your voice be heard. I always wanted to do things by the book and I ended up suppressing my own tone in my stories. Eventually, I threw the manual out the window and began to let my words flow over a keyboard.
Voice also played a huge role in the importance of exercising my freedom of free speech as a journalist, but also as a minority. As a minority it is my civil duty to keep authorities accountable by standing up and speaking for the voiceless who cannot defend themselves.
Choosing to get involved in something greater than my abilities and strengths gave me the opportunity to set grander expectations for myself. That is something no amount of loans can ever buy and for that I will forever be grateful to the beauty that is The Threefold Advocate.