"Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen."
Well, I officially have my third year of college under my belt. Time sure goes by fast. It seems like it wasn't long ago that I was hauling boxes out of my parents' house at the ripe age of 18, anxious and excited to start my college career as an Aggie.
Yesterday I trudged up to campus before the sun was even up to take my media law final at 7:30 in the morning. That class was probably the hardest of any class I'll take for my degree. The final was a beast, but I think I did alright. We'll wait and see. I am not a very good test taker. It's something I don't like to admit, so it's kind of a miracle I'm admitting it on my blog. I actually get test anxiety pretty bad. All week before my media law final, I actually had nightmares about it. Usually when I sit down and take tests too, my mind just starts spinning and I can't even read the questions on the test. My freshman year of college I almost got help with it. I called the test anxiety experts and even set up an appointment. But because I'm so vain, I called the day of and cancelled.
I think I ought to give a little disclaimer for this post. This is not a "woe is me" post and I apologize if it also sounds like I'm bragging later on. I don't mean for this to turn into either of those things. It's just that I have learned so much in this past year of school; about myself, about people around me, about my degree and potential career, and just about life. And now that I have approached the end of this year, I have some thoughts on my mind and some feelings in my heart that I want to get out. . .before I forget just how I feel.
This is the year I really delved into all the classes specifically for my major. This spring semester I actually had all journalism classes. It was nice, and a part of me figured it would be easy. I was so wrong. The journalism department gets some crap from people sometimes because apparently we're the "easy major". From experience I will tell you that it's as easy as you want to make it. But if you take it easy, I guarantee you won't get a job. Broadcast journalism jobs are some of the most competitive to get. At a starting job, most of us who want to be field reporters (like me) will probably make about what we would flipping burgers. Not joking. And then it's all about working your way up the food chain. But I still absolutely love what I am studying. We are the watchdogs over the government, the tellers of truth. Movies like "All The President's Men" and "Good Night and Good Luck" make me excited about journalism and the potential impact we can make on history.
I feel like I have an interesting experience being a married student. Lots of girls that "just want to be moms" so they are hurrying to get a degree will do journalism. I think this is what one of my teachers assumed about me. So he was hard on me and made me prove myself last fall. It was discouraging for a while. Then on the last day of the semester he pulled me aside and asked me if I was serious about my degree. I told him I wouldn't be here wasting time and money if I wasn't. So he told me congratulations and that he would keep being hard on me during spring semester and expect even more from me.
He started encouraging me to do spot news throughout spring semester, which I did. So this last semester, I stopped going to student events on the weekend with my camera (so easy to do stories on, but they are never interesting) and I started listening to police scanners, hoping someone would get in an accident so I could race to the scene with camera in hand. I know that sounds so awful, my major is turning me into a gruesome person. Doing this has been stressful and some weekends I was nervous I wouldn't end up with a story so I would really have to dig, which sometimes I did. But sometimes I came up with real gems for stories. Like the time I covered the Idaho lottery (almost all the people in line were from Utah), or the story on the news that the Logan zoo might close down, or the time a car in the canyon crashed into the river and I skipped class to go get footage and interviews, or the time I sat down and talked with an avalanche survivor, or the time I got way closer than anyone else to the baby bears at Baby Animal Days. I get to do cool things and talk to so many cool people. I even sold a few of those stories to news stations in Salt Lake. And let me tell you, it's pretty exciting when you watch the 6 o'clock news and just wait for your footage to appear on screen. And then when it does, you dance around and call your mom (because she's watching too) and you celebrate your success. And even though no one else watching the news knows that some amateur girl from Utah State shot that all, you know and that's all that matters.
It's sweet moments like that which make all the hard moments worth it I suppose. This semester was tiring. I decided it would be a good idea to take a documentary class and newscast at the same time. So when I wasn't out shooting something with a camera, I was living inside a dark edit bay editing my heart out. Then add media law to that and it caused for many sleepless nights and more tears shed than I'd like to count. This semester was at times a mess. I felt like I was living in some sort of prison I couldn't escape. Many weeks one thing after another would go wrong. So many times equipment failed me. Once I lost my sd card the day before my story was due. . .all the footage for that story was on the lost sd card. It was awful. I cried for several hours straight (I'm usually not emotional) and thought the universe must hate me. I had to quit my job because I didn't have time for it. That sure made me feel like a failure and a half. I started going to the chiropractor once a week because I was having migraines every day and we discovered by back was jacked up (partly from hauling heavy camera equipment around). There were times that one thing piled onto the other and I really just wanted to scream. And there were constant moments of me not thinking I was even good at the major I was studying. So many times of cursing my advisor for talking me out of switching my major to English so I could just be a high school English teacher, rather than have so many unanswered questions about my future.
I've heard it said that your first year of marriage is hard. I was sure this would be false for me and Brian. We know each other so well, I thought. Living together won't be hard to get used to. Honestly, none of that has been hard to get used to. We're naturals at being married to each other. But I'll tell you what, my school schedule has been hard on both me and Brian, and I have felt so guilty for that. There were so many nights I didn't get home from editing until after midnight, so many times I was an emotional and psycho mess, so many times I ripped myself apart thinking I was an awful wife. It's been a challenge for both of us. I know it's been a real challenge on my own confidence. But challenges are what make us better people. A girl in my class recently asked me, "How do you do all this and be married. I can't even imagine being married right now." I answered and said, "I just suck at being a wife right now to be honest." She laughed, but it was true. Things in my life have not been balanced, for the last few months I've been torn in all directions, feeling incompetent in both school and at being a wife.
A short while ago, that same teacher I talked about earlier was asking me if I would give a few little lines worth of speech at some banquet type thing about the broadcast major. He asked me what I would say. This was just days after I'd quit my job and my energy was shot. I started trying to say something and then my throat got all choked up. "I don't think I'm the right person to do this."
I tried answering back. I felt so beyond embarrassed because I was on the verge of tears.
"I don't know if I can do this anymore. I never make my husband dinner. And I don't even feel good at this?"
He looked nervous and confused, "You mean journalism?"
"Yes. I'm just so stressed all the time. I don't know if I can do this every day for the rest of my life. Maybe I should have just been an English teacher!"
Oh my poor teacher. He was concerned though. He kept me in his office for almost an hour, trying to convince me I was good enough.
Well, long story short, this semester has really tried my confidence and my patience.
But from all of these hard times, many rewards have been reaped. I have made so many close friends with the people in my major. There is only a handful of us, so I feel like we became a little family after being together all the time with newscast. The last day of our class it felt like the day in high school when you had everyone sign your yearbook. Totally cheesy but it's true. I'll miss them. The pictures above are from our last day of newscast. And look closely, you'll probably see a few of those faces on tv one day. They have some real talent. On our last day of class, we also did class awards. I didn't think I would get voted for anything. So I'd already come to terms with the fact that I wouldn't get an award. But I did! I got four of them, including best anchor (which I was totally shocked and confused about).
I also discovered a short time ago that I got a scholarship. I'm still wondering if maybe it's a sick joke someone is playing on me, so I've kept it on the down low. It's the Josey Barnes Wayman Scholarship. It's actually a scholarship especially for women in broadcasting. She was one of the first women in Utah to have a successful career in the broadcast world. I feel so blessed from receiving this great award. It really is such an inspiring scholarship and pushes me to want to do great things and prove myself. Plus, Brian and I weren't going to get much financial aid for this next year. It's nice to know that someone is watching out for us ;).
The last few weeks of school have been rejuvenating and comforting. Things have happened that assure me maybe (just maybe) I am good at what I'm doing. I have potential. And I have the greatest of people around me to push me to that potential. So thanks to you if you are one of those many people.
I apologize for the long, boring, mostly rambling blog post. I kind of want to erase it all now.But I won't and I'll instead leave you with a picture of me and my scholarship certificate. . .