The last few days have been something of a whirlwind. That might be a bit of an understatement, but we’re going with it for now.
I’ll be reporting at the Columbia Missourian this semester as my introduction to my upper-level classes. It’s pretty cool, in some ways. The number of “oh wow, I’m a real journalist” moments in my life have increased significantly. I actually volunteered some on Monday and managed to get my first byline. That, I must say, was pretty satisfying and relieving. It definitely helped me realize I could tackle this semester, and it brought down my anxiety levels significantly.
The experience has been a lot to take in over the last few days. I actually showed up a few minutes early (I know, right?) to orientation because I was too nervous to sit around and wait in my dorm for it to be time to leave. The actual experience was, on the whole, reassuring. I know it’s going to be a tough, busy semester, but I am excited about the team of people I’ll be working with. I’ll be reporting for the education beat, which was one of my top choices, and I’m pretty pleased to have a mix of familiar and new faces to work with.
That being said, there have been hard parts about the last couple of days. I think I mentioned this earlier, but I’ve been anxious about this semester for a while. It’s not that I’m not excited. It’s just a lot to take in, and it’s a huge step outside my comfort zone as someone who’s generally a bit on the shy side. Yesterday, I went to the Missourian and ended up picking up a story about how Columbia was named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People.” While I didn’t know I would be walking away from the day with a story, I will be honest and tell you I spent the majority of my walk to the newsroom nervous enough to fall over.
But I think on the whole, it proved to be a solid experience. I worked on getting over some of my fears about the semester, and I walked away with my first story. It was fairly basic, actually. I worked with a press release about the city’s recognition, did some research, made a lot of phone calls, had many of those phone calls go unreturned because it happened to be a national holiday, asked a ton of questions, and eventually wound up with something publishable.
I’d say not to bad for one day’s work.
But I know things are going to start hitting me pretty quickly soon. I’m going to start doing a lot more work for my beat, and I’m going to have to take on some much more complicated stories. I’m going to be learning fast. I’ve heard the phrase “just dive into it,” or some variation of it, a lot over the last few days. I have to say that’s what it feels like. I’m jumping into this semester headfirst, and despite my fear of drowning, I, going to learn to swim. (Yes, I know that metaphor was horridly cheesy.)