Today, I am an intern reporter at the Johnson City Press launching my professional occupation in journalism. Nothing ever hit me upside the head with career certainty; it was more a series of fortunate events that shepherded me to my passion.
I was 8 years old when I scribbled together a story of a pony and her life’s hardships in the field. And let me tell you this: The writing was great compared to the illustrations. I recognized my writing affinity a couple of years later, scrawling in a daily journal religiously and following up on whatever affairs a 10-year-old might experience.
Fast-forward a few years to the eighth grade, and I had loaded six once-empty notebooks with juicy, middle-school shenanigans and joined the yearbook staff as a productive way of relieving my 13-year-old angst. Gathering information and translating it to stories sparked my interest in print, which followed me to high school, where I served as co-editor of the yearbook for two consecutive years.
Unfortunately, the easy days — which seemed extremely difficult at the time — concluded, and I found myself scurrying to apply for scholarships and universities. What would I study? Where would I study? My career conundrum triggered months of bewilderment as my high school days curtailed.
In August 2014, after deciding East Tennessee State University was definitely, without a doubt, the school for me (go Bucs,) I declared the first of many majors: digital media. But I’d discover that field didn’t satisfy me.
“I like to write,” I thought. “I’ll just switch to English. Wait, what will I do with this? Okay, I should do communication studies. Actually, business wouldn’t be too bad, would it?”
Four major-swaps later, I settled with a bachelor of science in mass communication and emphasis in radio, television and film with a minor in journalism. I had the idea that broadcast served as a beneficial choice in today’s technology-crazed industry, but I had to stray back to print just a little.
Surfing jobs on LinkedIn that coincided with my degree led me to the realization that my major’s job duties terrified me. I skimmed the descriptions until they inevitably proclaimed that candidates need camera skills — not solely from behind the camera, but as the subject on the screen as well. Yikes. That’s a fear I must conquer.
Finally, I acquired news via word-of-mouth that the Johnson City Press needed two summer interns, so I assembled my portfolio and resume and darted to the office, paperwork in my nervous, shaking hands. Two weeks later, I received the message that I landed the internship and have been writing articles for the Press for three weeks. I will graduate from ETSU in December and hope to continue my writing career where ever the opportunity will arise.
Yes, I did write about obtaining the internship in my journal. Yes, I do still write in a journal. And yes, my passion is journalism.