As I am writing this, I am thinking about how today marks exactly two weeks until I am officially done with college. This chapter of my life has flown by and has without a doubt been truly remarkable. I will say it had its ups and downs, but I like to think of the fonder times when I recollect.
I have gone to school for four years in pursuit of my degree but have only attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for two. I started my journey at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where I earned my associate’s and decided to transfer to UWSP to pursue my bachelor’s.
Moving to a much smaller community and not knowing a soul was one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever faced. There were some days at first when I felt like I barely had a conversation with someone. It took me a few months to really get my feel of the place I now called home. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, I felt much more comfortable with what I was doing and started making a few good friends.
I would have to say last year was the year of my life: the year when I made the most changes to myself and what I was doing. I started becoming more active in organizations like The Pointer and SPTV, and I figured out what I really want to do “when I grew up.”
I came into my first meeting at The Pointer and was a little nervous. I soon realized how different and similar newspapers could be. Right away I noticed the set up of the paper being much different than the paper I was an editor for at Kirkwood.
The people in the newsroom almost mimicked each other. It’s a little hard to explain the way a newsroom works to outsiders, but believe me when I say most newsrooms are similar. Certain editors want things one way and their visions are completely pinpointed, while others are a little more free to let the writers explore.
When I ventured to SPTV, I really just wanted to know more about it and see what the TV business entailed. I started showing up to news shows and taking volunteer positions until I eventually applied to be a news producer. Once I found out I obtained the position, I felt torn. Do I keep writing for The Pointer or just focus on this? I decided to focus on learning the ropes as a news producer for awhile and then started to contribute to the paper.
With all of my experience in both realms of journalism, I’ve decided that eventually I want to be a multimedia reporter for a daily news publication. I am hoping with my position I have lined up at the Northwood Anchor in Northwood, Iowa that I will still be able to do some multimedia reporting as well as writing.
Aside from focusing on my studies and involvement in the Pointer and SPTV, I have gained some amazing friends and had some unforgettable memories. My word of advice to all you freshmen, get out there and socialize as much as possible. It may be hard at first adjusting to new territory, but you can do it.
Meeting people in a new location and not knowing whether they will like you is scary but so exhilarating all at the same time. No, not everyone will like you. That’s true in any situation. Those people who do like you, and who you decide to create friendships with, will make your time in college worthwhile.
College is the only time you can go out as much as you want and maybe be a little reckless. I have had a few times where I would go to class still reeking of booze and bad decisions and get away with it. Why? Because everyone has done it at least once.
No, I don’t think you should forget about your studies, but balance is key to a memorable college experience. How many times can you say that you stayed up until 7 a.m. and walked to Perkins in the pouring rain with your best friends? I can tell you it’s only happened to me once. Also, if you get the chance to go to The Store and ring the bell, do it. I am telling you to live a little. Do things that you wouldn’t normally have it in yourself to do.
Be able to stand up for what you believe in and make your own path. This is the molding time in your life where you can figure out what you want to do and who you want to be. Both of these concepts can be ever evolving, but I would take this opportunity to lay down some stones and start following your path.
For me, I have started to pave my way in journalism and figure out who I am as a person in these four short years. Now, I think I may actually know who I am, and I’ve learned that by standing up for what I believe in and really weighing all the options in situations. Take this opportunity to learn who you are and try not to be afraid of it.