Back in the saddle

The first step is to admit that you have a problem.

Okay. I have a problem. I have been neglecting this blog. I feel awful.

Good.

Moving on.

I’m back at the Missourian for the enterprise beat for the Spring 2013 semester. It’s going to be a change from education, and I’m going to have to take a lot of initiative and keep my often spacey and conceptual ideas reined in. I’m going to need to make these ideas tangible and tactile and identifiable. I had a very successful first couple talks with my editor, and I’ve been doing some preliminary research for some topics I’d like to cover.

I came to enterprise because it was my other top choice when I was applying for beats for the first time last year, but also because I wanted a chance to branch out in my experience with the newspaper.

It’s a new year, and I’m already slacking on some resolutions. But the newspaper is different. I had a variety of experiences late last year that hit me pretty hard, and I think my work showed it. But I’m not one to wallow, and I’ve come back from last year with little more than a few mental bruises. But now is not the time for mental bruises. And now I just looked up ways to make bruises better, and the solutions vary from an ice pack to acetaminophen to parsley to pineapple to leeches (yes, leeches).

Alas, 2013 feels like it’s going to make itself into a nice amalgamation of parsley and leeches to turn my bruises into little tea lights. (I’m not making any sense. The tea lights come from a class exercise where I said the lights represented positivity and finding the motivational light within ourselves.)

I’m really good at metaphors, right?

Anyway. I truly am excited to be back. I wasn’t sure where I was at the end of spring semester, and honestly, I wasn’t sure where I was in December. But it feels good to be back working within the strangely comforting seafoam-teal-green walls of the Missourian. I was nervous coming back. But it subsided very quickly, and everyone, as always, has been supportive and accepting. I got that feeling from the very first time I walked into the paper. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, but it’s certainly there. Maybe it’s comfort, maybe it’s nerves, maybe it’s just a feeling that is telling me that I am back in the right place. I’m back in the place that was always the right place for me to me. Now it’s my time, again, to take up the reins and get back onto the road and see what’s ahead for me for the next few months.

(I post this as I just realize how many horse references I’ve made in this post. Whoops…there’s that bad metaphor thing again.)

Onward!

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Under the sun

Here are some of my photos from our climbing trip in Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas, NV. Needless to say, it was a pretty life-altering experience. I’m very fortunate I was able to go and humbled by the experience.

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New horizons

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.

A Columbia pizza joint with pizzazz

From its famous cups to its appearance as the nation’s best college hang out spot on the television show “Good Morning America”, Columbia’s Shakespeare’s Pizza is no stranger to fame. Founded in 1973, this local pizza joint has slowly but surely become one of the landmark food spots of the city for locals and visitors alike.

Shakespeare’s employee Kayla Miller was referred to an open position at the restaurant by a professor five years ago and has worked there ever since.

“I love it here,” Miller said. “We all hang out together. It’s like a family.”

Miller said her favorite part about working at Shakespeare’s is meeting all the interesting people that come in to eat at the restaurant. In a city granted the nickname “Athens of the Midwest”, Shakespeare’s is sure to continue its path in adding a little flavor to the local culture of Columbia.

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