The City Lights that Opened my Eyes

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention in Los Angeles with hundreds of talented student journalists.

When we weren’t attending helpful breakout sessions, critiques and speeches, our group saw as much of LA as we could in just a few days. We packed in sightseeing on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, indulging in In-N-Out Burger, a Ferris wheel ride on the Santa Monica Pier, girlish squeals of delight on the beach, the life story of an aspiring actor/Lyft driver and countless other adventures.

While the trip didn’t go without a few small hiccups (which ended up being fun, anyhow), such as walking more than three miles to a documentary premier and spending an extra 20 minutes on the metro because we took the wrong one, I enjoyed every minute of my time there, and even learned some things about myself.

I’ve always wanted to experience and live in a big city, but thought it was out of the question for me to try fresh out of college. After this experience, I realize there is nothing truly standing in my way. I am financially stable, have a good head on my shoulders and no real ties to the Midwest. I’ve spent my whole life with wanderlust and the urge to get out of my comfort zone. Now is the time.

While it might prove difficult to find a job in my aspired career field right away, I am motivated enough to work any job in order sustain myself – especially while living in a desirable location.

Then comes the question: should I force myself to stick to small towns so I can work my way up, or do I take a risk and move somewhere I want to be and let life run its course?

I feel I have played it safe much of my life, and sometimes even done things just because I thought it was what others would want me to do, or what I was supposed to do. As I near graduation and real independence, I feel that in a way, it’s now or never to take risks in order to be truly happy.

Everyone is different, and I’m certainly not knocking small towns, but what better time than now to fly by the seat of my pants and make a go for it? There’s no sense staying timid on the sidelines and daydreaming of what could have been.

So, while the trip gave me some valuable educational tips regarding investigative journalism, blogging and breaking into the industry, it also allowed me to reflect on my life as a whole – as a journalist and a wanderer.

 

MyKayla Hilgart

News and Environment Editor

mhilg143@uwsp.edu

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