Entering college at 18, I struggled with social anxiety. Human interaction, especially with strangers, was not my favorite hobby.
But as a journalism major, I had to get over it – or at least better manage it. If I couldn’t, then journalism was not the career field for me.
I took a leap of faith and went to my first Tropolitan meeting in the fall of my sophomore year.
It only took me a few weeks to already have a regret. That regret was I didn’t join my freshman year.
At the Tropolitan, I found a great space to work on my journalism mechanics as a sports writer and to put myself out there with opinion pieces.
Thanks to the Hall School of Journalism (HSJC) and its curriculum, I’ve been able to grow every semester as a writer and as a person.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also thank my political science professors for helping me think critically about our government and politics even amidst today’s climate.
My education as a whole at Troy has made me more confident about myself and my abilities. This is a confidence I never particularly had growing up.
For example, when I write a political column, it typically gets a negative reaction from the Facebook crowd.
Some people in the comment sections have seen my articles, which I’m not sure they actually read, and used them to justify why they didn’t send their kids to Troy University.
If that’s not a badge of honor, then I don’t know what is.
If I were in high school and read someone say that about me, I likely would have cried and undergone a long period of self-doubt.
Now, in college, I laugh at those comments, and I thrive seeing them because they no longer get under my skin.
Taking criticism is a crucial skill I’ve learned because of college. Gaining confidence has helped me learn my self-worth and to have faith in my knowledge and the skills I’ve honed.
I’ve received hate mail in the Tropolitan office, but I consider it fan mail because it is on my fridge like an award.
If that’s not personal growth, then I don’t know what is.
Now, it’s time to head into the real world. I still honestly don’t know what the future holds, but I’m leaving Troy University confident I have the skills I need to succeed.
For example, no longer am I afraid to do tasks like interview people for an article.
Instead of worrying about what others will think of me, I walk into an interview ready to connect with another person and hear their story and find common interests.
I’ve developed a general love for talking with strangers and seeing the walks of life they come from.
To this day, I still struggle mentally with inhibitions like social anxiety, but I’ve come a long way from where I was four years ago.
I don’t know where I’d be today without the Tropolitan.
I’d like to give a shoutout to the editors I’ve had in the last three years, for helping me along my journey to be a better journalist.
Special shoutouts go to former HSJC professor, Steve Stewart, and Dr. Robbyn Taylor for their leadership. Your wisdom and guidance are something all students under your tutelage will use for the rest of their lives.
I’ll leave you with a final call to action. Show your support to journalism, especially to your local newspaper, television station or public radio station.
With a pandemic wreaking havoc over the world, news outlets are having a tougher time staying afloat with reduced revenue from advertising.
So, if you’re financially able, subscribe to your local newspaper or pay for their digital services.
Journalists are an important part of our society, and right now, they’re needed more than ever.