Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Journalism?

Here at Beyond the Trope we’re all about moving beyond what’s holding you back. One of the best examples of this is how I decided to study Journalism instead of Creative Writing. I can’t tell you how many times people have squinted at me and said, “But you’re an introvert. Why would you study Journalism?”

In order to answer this question, I have to go back about a decade (ouch) to high school. The times I felt the coolest and the best almost always happened in English class, because that was where I felt I could actually compete. My writing was in no way the verse of Edmond Rostand, but it wasn’t bad, either. I often convinced my teachers to let me do something creative for final projects. I wrote plays instead of final essays and pretend journals of famous people instead of research papers.

I had a very un-cool high school experience. I call my high school self Awkward Michelle (or So Incredibly Awkward Michelle). I had no idea how to break out of my bubble and think like people who didn’t believe it was completely normal to make chainmail during lunch breaks.

I remember having a moment of panic as I realized that my books would never read true if they didn’t have some truth in them.  If I couldn't talk to people, how in the world was I supposed to write about them? If there’s one thing people love to read, it’s books they can relate to. Characters they want to be or be friends with. Stories might come from the imagination, but even the best lies are based on a small piece of truth.

I needed something that would push me so far out of my comfort zone that I would be forced to change. Journalism would teach me how to get to the heart of a story while also working on my writing abilities.

It helped me to write to a point, not just for fun. If news writing is anything, it’s quick and smooth. It taught me no person is too insignificant for a story. Everyone has something worthwhile and interesting in their life; you just have to find it.

I am so thankful that I pushed myself that hard, even though there were some days I seriously considered switching majors. But I had to grab my trope of Introverted High School Nerd and shake the shy out of it. There are still pieces of Awkward Michelle hanging around, but they’re a lot better at telling people stories about themselves.

How about you? Have you pushed yourself to do something slightly unpleasant so you could become better at something you love (or even hate)?

Yes, Michelle’s high school friends made chainmail during lunch. And during Calculus. She was also Treasurer of the French Club, an honorary member of Science Club, and judged the elementary school Art Fair most years. In short, she was a dork. Still is, really.

1 comment:

  1. I did a standup routine once to get myself in the mindset of putting myself in front of people and talking with them. Then at the RMFW conference I made a point of going to meet new people. I'm not necessarily good at meeting new people, but after a few years at the conference, I've gotten more confident.