During my sophomore year of high school, I joined the student newspaper as a writer. I barely knew anything about the inner-workings of a newspaper, but I loved writing, so I figured I would give it a shot.
Come production time, my teacher came over to check on my page, only to see I had barely done anything. I had greatly underestimated how important and imminent our deadline was, and, because I was sharing a page with someone else, I was preventing them from working on their section. My teacher stayed late with me and the editor-in-chief to work on my page. I was the last person done, and I had to come in the next day to finish the page.
I went home that night, thinking to myself, “Maybe I am not meant to be a journalist. Maybe I should just continue to work on becoming a graphic designer.”
Well, high school me, joining that class was the best decision you ever made, because it led me to the University of Indianapolis and The Reflector, and what I was truly meant to do in life.
While applying for colleges, I had heard about UIndy’s outstanding communication department and student newspaper. I knew UIndy was the school I was destined to be at; it just seemed like a place I would belong. I could not have been more correct.
I can not even count the ways journalism has positively benefited my life. When I joined my high school newspaper, I was a shy, introverted sophomore who had a hard time talking to others. Now, I am far more outgoing and confident when interacting with people. If I did not take journalism back in high school, I would have not had the opportunities I had to really come out of my shell.
Adding onto that, when I was on my high school newspaper staff, I was horrified of becoming an editor. I was worried I would not be able to handle everyone else’s stories on top of my own–let alone in addition to my school work. Because of that, I never held an editorial position in my high school newspaper. However, when I joined The Reflector, I knew it was time to move up to an editorial position, and I not only proved that I was capable of holding an editorial position, but two at once. If I had told my high school self that, I do not think she would have believed me.
My journalism experience also gave me the opportunity to interact with so many types of people and tell their stories. From my time on The Reflector, I have interviewed artists, athletes, actors and so many others. Having the opportunity to tell these people’s stories is a unique job that I am proud to have held.
By far, though, the best aspect of writing for The Reflector was being with the people who ran it. We were more than just a newspaper staff; we were a close group of friends. We supported each other not just with newspaper-related matters, but with personal situations. I will never forget our late-night productions together, the stress of work being relieved by the most random conversations we could think of and laughing until our sides hurt. And, through it all, we not only published an award-winning newspaper, but had fun doing it.
However, my time at The Reflector was cut short by my early graduation. Leaving the newsroom for the last time hurt. I was leaving not only my co-workers but my friends as well. But, I knew deep down it was time for me to leave and show the rest of the world what I can do.
I have so many people to thank for helping me get to where I was and where I am going to be, starting with Jeanne Criswell and the amazing communication department at UIndy. I truly cannot thank you enough for all the support you have given me during my time at UIndy and beyond. To my high school newspaper teacher, thank you for seeing the journalist within me and always being there. I owe so much of where I am now to you. To the alumni of The Reflector, thank you for continuing to be there for me through online means. And to all the current and upcoming members of The Reflector, I have no doubt that you will keep working hard to make The Reflector what it is. I really do miss writing for The Reflector and getting to see you all everyday but I am confident you will continue to do great things, and I promise I will too.