So, I’m starting out this semester in J4450, the Missourian class. I’ve worked really hard to get to this point, and upon reflecting this past year-and-a-half and even my years in high school, I’m in awe at all of my experiences. I’ve jumped from being frustrated with having nothing to be passionate about to becoming a high school fangirl for photo-j to a fanatic over reporting in a matter of about 5 years. That seems like such a long time, thinking about it now. But I’ve learned so much and I’ve changed so much, as cliché and non-descriptive as it sounds. I always struggled when I was growing up to find a purpose for myself—I carelessly (and notoriously) flew through ballet, basketball, taekwondo, violin—but once I went to a photography exhibit in New York before my high school career, everything changed. This exhibit revealed a side to me that I’d never seen before. It contained photos from the famous war photographer Robert Capa, and as I progressed eagerly with visual trepidation, I was shocked and enthralled by the photos I saw. “The Falling Soldier”, as it does everyone, became my favorite photo, and I followed my dream of photojournalism with a fierce passion.
Yet, when I decided to come to MU to go to the world’s first and best journalism school (thanks to the tour team for making it my top school!), I realized my affinity for writing. I’d always written, and I was always applauded by family and teachers about how good my writing was. (I mean, I don’t know how good a scatterbrained growing daughter’s short stories could really have been, but hey, I’m not complaining now.) I suppose I just never realized or acknowledged their praise of my writing. I’ve gotta hand it to The Maneater for getting me back into writing. I then interned at a local newspaper in my new home in Arlington, Va., and wrote for several online news sources. This is about to start sounding like a regurgitated cover letter. I apologize. But in all honesty, I re-revealed that passionate side of me when I started to report and write again. I’ve always had an addictive personality, but for the most part in my life, my obsessions were short-lived. That’s why I cherish journalism so much, because it’s been one of the few things that I have been so passionate about for such a long time (I mean, it doesn’t seem like that long, but it feels like it!) and I can’t imagine not having in my life.
Some of my non-journalism friends question my love for the profession. It’s hard to put into words (uh-oh…irony alert). Maybe it’s the deadlines or the late nights or the camaraderie. Maybe it’s the flash of excitement when you see your byline in the paper or that pang of fear when you make a mistake and hustle to fix it. I’m not entirely sure. But what I do know is that this semester, I’m going to learn a lot. I’ll learn so much in such a short amount of time, that I may go crazy. But it’s the kind of crazy that I love. I want to learn everything I can. I want to hone my skills and learn more. I want to get to know my counterparts and my editors. I want to get to know my community. I want to get the most of my time here, and I know the Missourian is the first step of many in my blooming career of writing, learning and being curious.
Robert Capa said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” I have always carried those words close to heart. I plan to be as close as possible.