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Archive for February 1st, 2007

I chose journalism

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Last week I received a Facebook message from a reporter I worked with at the Stater a few years back. He said he was glad to hear about my job, and that he’d visited my blog and learned I had been interested in science and math. He was surprised I’d made the choice to be a journalist and is “still surprised you chose not to do science/math.” For him journalism was the back-up career path, but he figured, in his words “journalism’s my only true talent,” which is why he didn’t pursue something else.

I doubt this is true, as I know him to have other skills he could easily have lobbied into a career. But it made me realize something I hadn’t thought of since I was in high school.

I chose journalism. This might seem like an obvious statement — Yeah no crap you chose journalism, you just spent three and a half years and 60 grand getting a degree in it. — but bear with me.

I chose it. As in, I had the choice between journalism and something else. Not just something, lots of somethings. In fact, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life this was my biggest hindrance. I was good at math and science. I was also good at English and history. I was also a varsity athlete, a peer mentor, a member of the drama club, a library assistant, a budding photographer, a freelance Web designer and much much more.

It wasn’t just the propaganda they spit at you as a kid to build your self-esteem. I truly felt that I could do and be anything I wanted to be… except maybe a reporter.

As I have often told people, I chose journalism expecting to fail. I used to be afraid to walk up to an associate at the store and ask where something was. I used to cry when my mom made me order pizza over the phone. I wasn’t shy so much as I had serious anxiety about looking or sounding dumb.

Journalism helped me get over this. It helped me become a better person. Besides being able to carry a conversation with just about anyone, I now see connections in the world where previously I never would have.

I always felt a little bad that journalism wasn’t a “calling” as it appears to be for many of my friends. I do think anyone brave enough (or dumb enough) to go into this field has to have some of the “save the world” mentality. The comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable mindset, however that saying goes.

As I say in the about me page on this site, what I learned as I began to develop as a journalist is that I can take all those skills and talents I once saw as a hindrance to deciding my career fate and apply them to my job as a reporter. I can’t think of any other path that I could say that about.

So, I’m not surprised I didn’t go into science/math or worried that I settled for my back-up plan. I’m 21. It’s too early to be on my back-up plan.

Internship season!

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

It’s that time of year again. As spring semester starts rolling, the internship offers start trickling in.

No, not offers for me. (The one spring internship offer I did have came a day after I accepted my job. Though, it was an amazing offer, and I’m almost glad I didn’t have to choose between the job or that internship. I don’t know if I could have made the right decision.)

The offers are for my friends at Kent State. And I’m genuinely excited for each of them. (Genuinely jealous of a few, too.) A quick tally of those I know so far:

  • Ryan is coming to Indy this summer. (Yay for more Stater alums in Central Indiana!)
  • Abbey is interning at the J&C with me! (Even better than being in Indianapolis is being in Lafayette!)
  • Seth is headed to Lansing. (I’m sure I’ll be up for a few visits.)
  • Bryan is following Ryan’s footsteps and heading to Columbus. (Columbus isn’t that far from here.)
  • Brian got the Dow Jones copyediting internship. (As long as he stays away from “WTF” in headlines he’ll do well.)

There are others who know already, I’m sure. But those are just the ones I know of so far. I could probably Facebook sleuth and find out a few more, but even so not too bad a list. (Particularly since it brings almost all of them closer to me.)

Harry Potter and the… can I take my vacation the week after July 21?

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

I heard the news on the radio this morning on my way to work: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be released on July 21. Yep, in just under six months I will have a copy of the last installment in the series.

I do realize these are children’s books. But do you realize, I began reading them when I was about Harry’s age. (OK, I was actually 13. But still.) Imagine the agony of waiting nearly a decade to find out how the story ends. Well, I guess if that’s the worst that happens to me or the longest I wait for anything, than life’s good. But still.

I am so excited about just knowing when I’ll be able to sit down and read the book. It’s nice to know that it’s completed, too. I always worried that some freak accident might occur and she’d never be able to finish the series. We’d be left never knowing what became of Harry and everyone.

Maybe I can call dibs on the story we’ll inevitably do about it? (Kids + reading = education, right?) I remember I got to do the story on the release of the sixth book. It was so exciting to be surrounded by a thousand little kids who were eager to get their hands on a book. Not an iPod, not a PS3 or a Wii. A book. Just words on a page with a few illustrations thrown in for good measure. Of course, the downside was I’d ordered my book from Amazon. So, as those lucky brats got their hands on the books at midnight, I had to wait for UPS to stop by my house the next day.

Speaking of illustrations, the cover Amazon’s displaying is pretty plain compared to the others in the series. Is that the real cover? Hrm. I guess it must be.

QOTD: No matter how good you get…

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

“No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.”
— Tiger Woods

My vocabulary isn’t — that — bad, is it?

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

So, I happened across this list of 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know.

I’ll be honest. It made me feel stupid.

I knew just more than half of the words meanings on first glance. From taking the words apart and working out the potential meanings, I probably could make an educated guess on maybe 15 of the remaining words. But that still leaves about 30 of the 100 words I “should know” as a complete, “huh, wha?” for me.

I didn’t take the SAT. I took the ACT once and, happy enough with my score, went about junior and senior year stressing about other things. So, unlike many peers, I never worried about memorizing seemingly random word lists and meanings. I’m presuming that is where my peers would learn such words as bowdlerize, orthography and quotidian. Because I can’t imagine short of doing a lot of crossword puzzles or memorizing the dictionary, those are words that have ever come up in conversation.

You know, maybe I am better off not knowing these words.

My sister Brandiann is constantly on my case about my use of what she calls “Republican” words. Most of the time these words are not uncommon; they just have multiple syllables, and that frustrates her. I don’t try to impress people with my vocabulary. In fact, as a newspaper reporter, I don’t get that chance very often. Though, I admit, I’d love to see my editor’s face if I tried to squeeze in the word “incontrovertible” instead of undeniable.

But, it makes me wonder. If my college-educated vocabulary, which is hardly lacking in my opinion, is barely a passing grade on this list of 100, then where the heck does the average high school graduate fall.

And who the heck compiled this list? I can think of a few more practical terms that should be there, such as “APR” and “Interest Rate.”

But eh, that’s just me. And hasn’t this post proved that I apparently don’t know as much as I should.