I’m sitting in the newsroom right now, with too much hummus, not enough pita and a self-induced headache. I’ve got Frank Sinatra to assuage me with his crooning, though, so I think I might be able to make it through the next 24 hours at least breathing.
With the weight of my last two finals, my pestering academic lethargy and gleeful ignorance of what I need to do in the next couple days, I’ve found a cruel beast forming, a combination headache and perceived mental breakdown. I’m only kidding. Partially.
The end is definitely nigh.
I feel very overwhelmed right now (“Estoy muy abrogada” in Spanish. My friend taught me and I’ve said it an annoying amount of times since…). I’m not entirely sure why, though. I know my school subjects really well, and I’ve been studying feverishly for the past few days. I understand what I’m reading, but sometimes I feel like I just can’t make the connections mentally. I feel like I’m in a daze. Maybe it’s my body’s response to transitioning from hyper mode to the smoother flow of summer. Although, I won’t be unoccupied this summer. Rather, I’ll be busier than ever. So that can’t be it.
I’m not really sure how to respond to the semester. But I should start off with the fact that I have met some of the most amazing people I have in a while. Last semester, I got really involved in climbing, and unfortunately, that hobby fell by the wayside this semester. But I’ve realized which people really do care about me and understand what I’m going through. And even more importantly, I have met people who can sympathize with me and my often insatiable drive.
Whenever I’m in an interview and someone asks the question, “What’s one of your biggest flaws?” (Which, by the way, is totally overused. I don’t even know how effective it is. I mean, what about, “What’s your favorite color?” or “If you were an animal, which would you be?” Kidding, again. But you’d be surprised where those questions can lead. Just sayin’.), I always say “overambitious.”
I used to say that because honestly, it was the first thing that came to me. But I’ve realized over time that it really is the truth, and it’s really something that I’ve struggled with. I’ve struggled with finding people who understand having such an innate drive, being drawn so intimately to a goal and a passion that I have felt. But I’ve met people who, while they don’t know exactly what they want to do, have a sense of passion. I always wanted to want something before I found journalism. I wanted to feel something. But I never really did, and I was around people who were relatively apathetic. That didn’t help.
But ever since I’ve been in college — and, to be fair, I know some very passionate people I’m still close with from Orlando — I’ve met those people who really know that feeling of heat, of stimulus. And it’s not what they want that’s so important, in my perspective. It’s just the fact that this feeling is there that I understand that everything I’m doing is worth it. That I’m not the only one.
When I first saw photos by the photojournalist Robert Capa of the Spanish Civil War in an exhibit in New York City in the turbulence of preteenhood, I felt something that I hadn’t before. I looked at his photos, and something churned inside of me. Before, I’d done a lot of activities — taekwondo, ballet, art — but I never really felt anything deep for them other than the routine that comes along with a hobby. It was frustrating. I felt like I would only do things for a short time, then quit. That’s the way it always was.
But it felt different this time. I knew I wanted to do the same thing. Capa told me a story through his photos; he brought me to a more pensive level than ever. I felt a new regard for humanity.
I later realized that I really excelled in writing. I think my photos are good, but I think that’ll always be secondary to me. But I knew I wanted to do journalism. And I’ve never faltered since. Now, there have been moments where I’m completely exasperated and tired and blue. But when I sit down to put together that day turn, or write that fifth draft of a story, I get this subtle stir inside of me that keeps me going. I may get frustrated, and I may want to quit at times. But that core feeling always comes around, and I hope it doesn’t stop.
Journalism is many things, but for me, I’ve learned that at its most basic core, it serves as a medium of person to person. We scatter ourselves across the world (or across Columbia, in my case) and talk to people, learn things and relay them to other people in the most concise, interesting and straightforward way that we can. It’s a big responsibility. I definitely have a lot to change, and to perfect. But I’ve already learned so much, and I think I’ve truly come to the right place.
Now, there are definitely things that I would have changed about this semester. I can’t see everything in rosy tones, and that’s something I’ve learned has (unfortunately) become a handicap in the way I perceive stories. I have learned that I forgive too much. I am too averse to conflict. I’m very confident, but oftentimes I don’t stick up for myself completely. I’m too scatter-brained. But I think I can use these things to my advantage, and it’s just a matter of figuring out how to do that. Keep my strong core intact, but understand that it might change shape. I need to figure out how to balance my strong, assertive nature and my acquiescent nature.
I have been seeing the wheels turning for a while within me. And this semester has definitely contributed to that.
And now I’m going to be moving on to a fantastic summer. I’ll be coming back to the Missourian at some point, of course, but for now, I feel the tendrils of my life stretching to other places. It’s that wanderlust, that feeling of the unknown vastness of what’s to come, that excites me.
The Missourian has really transformed me. I’m not sure I can describe it in words quite yet. But I’m definitely a different person. And change is always a part of me. I’m a rootless person. I’m a wandering person. But I feel like the constant pull of journalism is keeping me on track and opening doors up for me at the very same time.
Onward and upward, right?