I am still not sure if journalism is right for me.
I realize that is quite a bold statement from the editor-in-chief, but hey, my job is to report the truth, right?
It would be a lie if I wrote that I have dreamed of being here since I was five. In high school, I tried to participate in every activity possible to make me the most “diverse” college applicant, and since teachers told me that I am halfway decent at writing, continuing with the newspaper in college seemed to be the most logical step.
Now, at the conclusion of two years at The Daily Free Press, I am neither convinced that I am destined to be a reporter nor that I must flee from the field of journalism and never look back.
Please do not mistake this revelation — I have sincerely enjoyed my time here and do not regret it for an instant. I am certain, too, that many of my colleagues whom I respect dearly do have the confidence in their journalistic futures that I lack. I simply mean to be honest with you readers, and to avoid platitudes masquerading as warm fuzzies.
Part of it is my personality. I have always been unsure and indecisive. Ask me what I want for dinner and I’ll likely turn it into a half-hour long debate. Here I am, three semesters from graduation, and I still do not have an answer for what I want to be when I grow up. I am willing to bet several of you feel the same.
But if anything, being here has taught me to embrace that confusion.
I joined my second semester as a freshman to get involved and to meet people. Both played out to extremes I never expected — “involved” is probably an understatement for working 40 to 50 hours a week to produce a newspaper, and though I love to maintain my prickly, grumpy demeanor to seem cool, I am amazed by how much this group of people has come to mean to me. I’m even a bit fearful that I will fall out of contact with them after this semester.
But I never knew for sure that I wanted to continue this work into the world. I could have given up, I could have left at the end of any semester, and yet something kept me here.
That will be my biggest takeaway and the source of my attempts to advise you. My time at the FreeP has not been worthwhile solely because of the stories I wrote, but also because I feel that for the first time in my life, I explored a potential future with hope. I did not join the FreeP for the same cynical résumé-building reasons as my high school clubs, but rather because I was interested in whether journalism was right for me, without any guarantee that it would lead me to a satisfying, fulfilling life.
I have been far too quick to shy away from a challenge, to seek comfort in routine when a path toward success is not illuminated. But here, I had the opportunity to try something new and to allow myself to explore who I want to be, to myself and to others. I believe the FreeP gave me the framework to continue seeking my place in the world, and for that, I will be forever grateful. Excuse me the typical coming-of-age trope, but we must not let our fears keep us hidden from experience.
I go now from the dingy office that I know too well to a normal sleep schedule and to focusing on class (just kidding, guys), but more importantly, I go to try something new. If I had not spent these two years here, I do not believe I would have the courage to bother pouring myself into something attempting to seek a purposeful existence. I would still be the same student, disingenuously and halfheartedly doing everything simply for applications.
Take it from me: If you are afraid that you are on autopilot, and there is no place for you in the world, try something. Try anything. It may not stick, but you will have started forward momentum on your journey.
So long, thanks for reading, and thanks for the support you’ve given me.
Fall 2013 Editor-in-Chief