Today is the anniversary of my graduation. Exactly a year ago I graduated from Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The minute I walked out of my last college class, I felt a sudden rush of inspiration fill me. I immediately sat down and just let the words flow through me, to my finger tips and on to the keyboard. When I was done writing, I saved it to my desktop, closed the document and never opened it up again. It wasn’t written to be shared or thought about. It was just something I felt I had to put down at the moment and save. I had to save what my feelings, thoughts and emotions were right at that very minute. The minute I knew it was all over. Today, only 365 days after I walked across that stage and received my diploma, I was inspired to open it up again. For some reason, I feel compelled to share it. To allow others read it for the first time. My education process took me a long, long time, but I achieved it. I sit here a year later still searching for the perfect job opportunity, but not giving up. I’m not giving up on it no matter what others say, just like I didn’t give up on my education. Things take some time some times and you just have to trust in the process. When it happens, I’ll feel about it just like I felt about completing my degree. I have to warn you, it’s a little long, but if you’re in search for some inspiration or care to see what rushed over me that day, here it is for the world to read for the first time ever.
Here are my thoughts from that day……
That’s it. I’m done. 11 years later and it’s over. I can’t believe it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and couldn’t seem to fit the time. God blessed me with a layoff … and time. Blessings in disguise, I’m a believer of that. All the work, the all-nighters, the headaches, the fights, the financial stresses, the advising headaches, it’s all over. I walked out of my last class.
The professors have been amazing. Some, I’m fortunate enough to call my mentors. They’ve been there to answer questions, add support and help even when it wasn’t class related. They’ve edited my pieces before my “real editors” took a look and brought me back on track when I dabbled in PR.
This is what I’m passionate about. This is what I love. Hell, this is what I’m good at! It doesn’t seem like work, it’s fun. It’s challenging. To me, it’s a game. Putting all the puzzle pieces together and in the end you have a wonderful story to share.
I sat in my last class this afternoon and my Professor, who I regard as one of my mentors, spoke a little bit about a career in Journalism, if we haven’t been scared away yet. We’re prophets. We ARE modern-day prophets. We seek out the truth and share it. It might piss some people off, but we’re not here to piss you off, just uncover the lies and praise the good. We’re there to help track the bad guy and tell the story of those left hurting. We assist in finding the truth and sharing it with the masses. We are public figures, even if we’re not elected to a public office. Because we are your voice. YOUR VOICE! The ones who say what you’re thinking, the ones who put the thoughts on paper and share it with the world. We’re the ones who get the government to react, the public to take notice, the every day man to realize he might have a health problem to check. We are modern-day historians. We write history – as it happens.
I am so excited to officially be able to say I. AM. A. JOURNALIST. And I have the 8×10 paper to prove it. It’s not in theory, it’s a fact. Someone bestowed the honor on me. It was a lot of work, but in the end, it’s an honor.
We’re famous, we’re known, but yet you don’t know who we are. We become your friends. You follow us around, you keep track of what we’re working on, yet we’ve probably never met. You read my thoughts, you’re in my head, you know my feelings, yet you’re not my friend.
I sit, for probably the last time, on the edge of the water of beautiful Biscayne Bay. I hated coming here. I hated the agonizing 1 hour commute. ONE HOUR! I hated the traffic, I hated the shuttle, I hated the rush. But I love the peace, the smell of the ocean, the sounds of the waves, the noise the wind makes as it blows near my ears, the feel of the pebbles on my feet. That smell of the ocean!
I’ve written by this ocean, I’ve studied – I’ve crammed for exams – near this ocean. I’ve put interviews together, brainstormed ideas, daydreamed about the future, edited pieces, made life changes sitting by this ocean. And today I say goodbye to it. Goodbye to what it taught me. Goodbye to the patience it brought me on hectic days, days I was running on very little sleep. Goodbye to the entertainment it gave me between classes. Goodbye to the creativity it inspired while I sat watching. Watching the waves, watching the sailboats, watching the kayaks. Some days I was alone, others there were other singles sitting near doing the same thing. Studying, lunching, working, daydreaming. This is the ocean that comforts me. This is the ocean that makes me feel home after I was gone for so long from this campus. This is the ocean I’ll always remember.
Because today, I step out as a Journalist. With a capital “J”, because now I’ve earned it. Now it’s not just a far out dream, a fight with advisors, a plea of my parents, a hope in my heart. Now it’s real. I did it. I finished! A long 11 years late. But as they say it’s better late than never. The 11 years taught me what it was to work, what it was to manage my time, what it was to juggle responsibilities, to find my way, to make me sure this is what I wanted. And if I wanted it 11 years ago, I can assure you I want it more than ever now. Seeing my name printed on a glossy piece of paper means more to me than any dollar amount can sum up to. The thrill, the pride, the excitement, the honor – now that’s what being a JOURNALIST is all about. I hope to educate you, to inspire you, to compel you, to fire you up, to make you aware, to guide you, to help you understand, to make you ask questions, to make you skeptical, to make you believe, to give you hope but most importantly to teach you what you may not know. Journalists are the every day educators. Educators of what’s going on in the world, educators of health, of business, of fashion, of diet, of tragedy, of government, of YOU!