Thursday, April 24, 2008


My last column for The Threefold Advocate:

When I first arrived at John Brown University, I had no idea what was in store for me. I had no idea that I would completely reevaluate my fields of study. I had no idea that my identity would change radically. And I certainly had no idea that because of an ardent and dedicated advisor, I would fall in love with journalism.

To distill all the things I’ve learned and the memories I’ve made would take far more space than I am allowed in this column, so perhaps I should try and shed some light on what it means to be a student journalist.

We are caught in the awkward position of having to wear two hats: that of the professional and that of the student. If we don’t take our jobs seriously, what we print could be extremely costly to the University in expensive lawsuits.

At the same time, we are in the middle of the learning process, and our homework is out in the open for the public to critique.

Life for me is rushed, hasty. I sleep in a bed that I hardly know; I am constantly in transit. Just about the only place I feel I truly know well is the newspaper office.

No time to breathe.

My life this year has consisted of two elongated, disproportionate days: the week and the weekend. My week begins in earnest on Tuesday evening, which fades into Wednesday without fanfare. Thursday is spent trying to track down sources and set up interviews, and I have to remind myself to go to class.

There, the routine ends. Really, there is little regularity. When the news happens, it’s our job to drop what we are doing and report. Inconvenient for planning? Too bad.

And with that, a new issue of The Threefold Advocate emerges, produced out of the sweat and sleepless nights of a staff that lives for this. It takes a moment to catch its breath and then begins the grind again.

For the 25 to 40 hours each staff member spends on the newspaper per week, we are awarded one or two hours of credit.

Would I change anything? Not on your life.

I’ve heard people say that the journalism practicum is the hardest on campus, and I see why they say it.

Here, I have learned much about others and myself. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. I have seen selfless service and tireless dedication. I’ve seen tensions flare and people lose their cool. I’ve seen and felt the best and the worst.

The experiences I’ve had have created the foundation upon which I will base my future study and career. As I move on to the University of Missouri and later into the workforce, I will carry with me the faces and experiences I have encountered at JBU.

Here we are: The end of the marathon, where we as a staff have given all we have to give. It’s certainly been a long, strange trip.


1 comment:

Marley McAfee said...

how does it feel to be starting again? how does it feel to turn the page and have your whole life in front of you?

i'd like to hear more of your dreams and fears for the future. you write beautifully.

cheers! :)