This week has definitely been a whole new learning experience for me in Journalism 2150. Although I have been at Mizzou and taking journalism courses for almost a full year, there is something I have neglected to consider during my time here. I have worried over tests and stories. I’ve fretted over AP style and had near panic attacks about how to stay competitive in a field that changes faster than Apple can whip out a new product. After expending all of that energy, whether it was necessary or not, I have forgotten to respect myself as a journalist. I have not stopped to ask myself why it is that I’m here. I’ve forgetten to remind myself that I’m a writer.
Writer. I never like to associate myself with that word. Once, during my freshman year of college at Seattle Pacific University, my dad and his best friend came to visit me on their way to a ski trip in British Columbia. When they picked me up to go to dinner after class one night, my dad’s friend remarked that he could tell I was a writer because I had ink smudges on my hands. I remember smiling sheepishly and changing the subject. I remember thinking that I hadn’t earned the right to have that label attached to my name.
I don’t know when I thought it would be appropriate to call myself a writer. I just recall thinking it was presumptuous to associate myself with such a profession when I wasn’t a professional yet.
That’s where I was wrong. After his lecture last Monday, Shane Epping’s passion for his subjects as a journalist started to turn the light bulb in the socket for me. He gave everything of himself to his story because he believed in what he was doing as a journalist. In believing in what he was doing, he was believing in himself as a journalist and photographer.
It was my professor, Bea Wallace, who really contributed to my eureka moment. Earlier in the week, as I was sitting in the futures lab struggling with poor audio in my TV News assignment, Bea suggested that I market myself as a writer and showcase my skills in my project. After I left the lab that day, I couldn’t stop hearing her saying that to me. I realized that as she said those words to me in that moment, I believed her. I believed I could market myself as a writer and that someone else would buy into it. I was finally buying into it.
This realization led to another that I had about Journalism 2150. This class is so much more than a journalism prerequisite. This class is a career builder. This class is about taking my skills and producing something amazing from them.
Through 2150, I have gained helpful experience through a challenging class, but I think I have also gained a mentor. Bea was the first person I have met since I’ve come to the journalism school last August who seemed to take a personal interest in me and my ambitions. I know this sounds dramatic, and I am not just gushing these wonderful things because I know she’s the one reading this right now.
My biggest concern when transferring to Mizzou from a small school was that I would have no one who would care enough to push me to the next level when I needed it. Because of this class and because of the instruction I have received I can now say I am no longer worried about that. I can now say, without blushing or hesitation, I am Hilary Weaver, and I’m a writer.