Twelve years ago, I was a lowly freshman at Mount de Sales Academy for Girls sitting in Mrs. Marlatt’s English class. I’m unsure of how the conversation began, but I shared with her my passion for writing and dream of becoming a journalist.
Twelve years later, I found myself standing in that same classroom telling current students about why and how I became a journalist during Career Day. The “how” is easy. I started in high school with my first journalism class. I became the Op/Ed editor for the school newspaper and later advanced to editor-in-chief my senior year.
From there, I majored in communications and took more journalism classes at Loyola College (before it became a university). I worked for the student newspaper as a copy editor and later as the copy chief. And I obtained not one, not two, but three editorial internships through the course of my senior year: 1) editorial intern for American Style and NICHE magazines; 2) freelance copy editor for U-Wire (a nationwide college news service); 3) editorial intern and online contributing writer for Girls’ Life magazine.
Several months after I graduated college, I began my career as a professional journalist as a reporter for The Aegis and The Record newspapers. Two years later, I’d been promoted to assistant editor for Chesapeake Home + Living magazine, where I am now.
That, of course, is the reader’s digest version. There were naturally many ups and downs, offers and declines, interviews and emails…but they all lead to this point. My “dream” has finally come true.
But then there’s the “why” I decided to become a journalist. And that response is a bit more complicated. You see, I love writing. Absolutely adore it. Writing is and always will be my first love. There’s a quote from Isaac Asimov on my Facebook profile that reads “I write for the same reason I breathe, because if I didn’t, I would die.” And it’s true.
Writing is the best way I know how to express myself and, in turn, help other people, which is why I wanted to become a journalist. Whether it’s something as seemingly trivial as helping a 13-year-old girl select a dress and complementing accessories for homecoming (which is no trivial pursuit, let me tell you!), or as meaningful as sharing the story of a young soldier who was killed in Iraq, writing is powerful. Writing can help and heal people…many of whom you will never see and/or meet.
As I was sharing my story with those young girls, it helped solidify that this is what I was born to do…and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.