Sunday, May 31, 2020

Column: I knew my major from the start, and I’m choosing to stick with it

December 5, 2019
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Out of everyone I know, I am the least likely person to ever change their major. And most people I know would agree with me. 

No one could ever imagine me studying anything other than journalism, and as happy as that makes me, it also makes me realize that it wasn’t always so clear. 

When one moves to a different country in search of the American Dream, you don’t always expect your eldest daughter to tell you she wants to be a journalist, and not even necessarily a TV one, just a writer. 

So, I really can’t imagine the horror my poor parents must’ve faced the moment I finally told them, “I want to be a journalist,” on our way home after they picked me up from my high school junior year winter semi-formal. 

They were rather quiet, to say the least. But, I mean, they weren’t not supportive.

When I was little, I would tell everyone I wanted to be a model. To that innocent little girl’s disappointment, I only grew to be a whopping five feet, two inches tall, and I also lack the proper balance. 

When I was about 10, I wanted to be a dentist because I had a big gap between my two front teeth. And when I was 12, I wanted to be a fashion designer because I was obsessed with “Project Runway.” 

But, past that point, I didn’t know what I actually wanted to do. As I got older, the question came up more and more and family dinner parties became “Wendy interrogations.” 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” and, “What do you plan on studying in college?” they’d ask me. 

I didn’t know. I genuinely never thought I was ever going to find something I would want to commit to learning for at least four years in college, let alone doing something every day for the rest of my life. 

Ironically enough, when I first applied to be on my high school’s newspaper staff, I submitted a writing sample of a girl who didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. I didn’t apply with the intention of being a journalist at all. 

Since I had transferred my freshman year, I wanted to become involved in some way, and all the most involved kids seemed to be on the newspaper staff.

To everyone who knew me at the time, it was probably obvious from the beginning that I really (and I mean really) enjoyed working on the school’s newspaper. 

Any awkward silence and I began talking about whatever article I was currently working on. Any new person I met, I would immediately let them know I was on staff. And any time someone had a question about what was going on in the school I was the first to answer.

It got to the point where no matter what I was doing at school or at home, I’d much rather be working on something for the newspaper. Every moment I was awake, I was coming up with new story ideas, trying out new graphic techniques, and volunteering to photograph just about every event and sport the school had to offer. 

Being a student journalist took over my life.

It was something that fulfilled me like nothing really had before. It was always changing. I got to be creative. I had a voice. I gave others a voice. And I got quick feedback. 

I spent around a year refusing to believe I wanted to be a journalist, but I think throughout that year my passion for journalism grew. So, I ultimately I had to admit it to myself. 

I was going to become a journalist, and I am going to be really good at it.

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