Let’s go back to 2019: picture me, a junior in high school, just going through the motions. Ambitious yet confused with what I wanted to do in college and beyond, I turned to my academic counselor. As I listened to the list of classes available for my schedule, I didn’t feel too alarmed with the basic electives or foreign language options. I knew at some point, time approaches quickly to start thinking of career paths, so I felt determined to find just that. When I heard “Intro to Publications,” I felt surprised to hear how specific the course went.
I thought to myself, “Hmm, I do like to write, and people that read what I write tend to think it’s good, so why not?”
The class was to help prepare me for either a journalism or yearbook class, so I ended up writing a lot more than expected. Working with other students on assignments also made me realize a team environment that requires lots of communication was for me. As I started to gain skills needed to develop into a journalist, I developed a love for the class. I found my passion for writing in this class, and it wound up being a huge factor when deciding my major for college. Searching for schools in close distance with good communication programs helmed my plan during the college application process.
The High School Experience
During my senior year of high school, I wrote and edited for my school’s newspaper. With help from my teacher and classmates, I learned how to effectively structure and compose articles. My senior year yearbook class required students to write one article every week while also editing another student’s article. Being on a weekly schedule that required me to conduct research for articles and communicate with fellow classmates? Another part of journalism I learned to enjoy.
Being on the same page as classmates and working towards one common goal to produce high-quality articles for our school to read made it a great experience. With my interest in sports, I always got excited to write about my school’s teams and athletes. I truly enjoyed analyzing stats, conducting stories about our teams and other similar tasks. When I would interview players and coaches, it almost felt effortless to me. Talking and writing about what I loved to do felt like second nature, and I soon realized my major in college: journalism.
Making The Decision
Being a part of my high school’s yearbook and newspaper for my community to read gave me a sense of pride and joy. Since I knew that what I wrote got read by lots of people, it made me want to take my skills as a journalist to the next level. Throughout the college application process, I looked for schools relatively close to where I live and where I would likely be accepted. I narrowed it down to a handful of a schools, then I began looking at the communication programs and opportunities each school offered.
When I looked into Penn State, I found out that their College of Communications got marked as one of the best in the country, so I went all in for it. I decided to major in broadcast journalism to pursue my goal of being a sports journalist. I did some more research on Penn State and found endless opportunities to get involved with on campus to prepare for my future in the work force. Seeing that Penn State tied itself with MIT as the best schools for preparing their students for a real job? Amazing. I soon accepted my offer of admission in March 2021 and didn’t looked back since.
Time to Continue my Passion for Journalism
Now that I stepped foot on campus, the opportunities for me to further my experience with journalism seem endless. I joined groups on campus such as CommRadio and Penn State Sports Night, both sports related, where I get to write and talk about Penn State and professional sports. This really puts into perspective how great my school makes itself with creating opportunities for passionate students in the communications field. Looking back to how confused I felt with my future just a few years ago should give fellow teens lots of confidence.
I went from going through the motions in high school to getting involved with well-known groups on campus in the matter of two short years. This isn’t an ad for Penn State in any way at all, but just know that when choosing your home for four years of your life, go into it with a vision and explore all the options that school can offer. No matter how long it takes to discover your passion, be patient. Maybe that random class you took for a few credits may end up being where all the answers lie.