“Now that is the way to write–peppery and to the point. Mush-and-milk journalism gives me the fan-tods.”
This was the quote on the front of our newspaper shirts back when I was freshman in high school. Our advisor was (high-key) obsessed with Mark Twain, so when we didn’t have an idea of what to put onto our shirts for our annual conference, he suggested this quote. Despite all of our complaining, it ended up on the front of our T-shirts.
Fan·tod (ˈfantäd/) - noun: a state or attack of uneasiness or unreasonableness.
Anyways, that doesn’t really have to do with anything this post is going to be about (though I have written an impassioned post about the flaws of the current status of newspaper headlines — but that too doesn’t relate to the quote either, haha).
So why did I choose this quote? Well, a) it’s a pretty weird quote (just like me, lol) and b) it reminds me of those first fateful days that’d eventually change my life forever.
But first, a lil’ tangent:
This past week I got to talk to a petroleum engineering student on campus, and this kid is A GENIUS AND SO INSPIRATIONAL AND AMAZING. He’s invented a device that can clean up oil spills in the Gulf, worked with both Exxon and BHP Billiton, attended leadership camps at MIT & Harvard, where he’s pitched his business ideas to investors, ON THE FORBES 30 UNDER 30 LIST, and just recently, been SELECTED BY THE UNITED NATIONS TO BE A YOUNG LEADER FOR THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS! AND HE’S THE SAME AGE AS ME? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING? (I’m doing what I love too, haha, so I guess we’re the same in that aspect LOL)
Anyways, here’s me being extremely proud of myself: MY STORY GOT PUBLISHED ON THE FRONT COVER OF THE DAILY TEXAN (!!!) I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT. BUT HERE IT IS, AND MY FEELINGS ARE ASFJK:DLFK RIGHT NOW. ❤
Back to what I wanted to talk about: me & journalism
It all started out as a mistake, to be honest: I accidentally wrote down 3230 instead of 3330 (or something like that) on the course registration sheet, because of course I’d do something like that. So on the first day of freshman year, I found myself sitting in Journalism instead of a PE course, interviewing the girl sitting next to me for the bellwork assignment. In those four minutes, I learned more about here than I had from sitting next to her in class for two years straight. And in those first four minutes of my first journalism class ever, I discovered the essence and power of journalism — to employ our inherent power of speech to discover, and then share, the stories of those around us.
Over the next four years, I had the opportunity to talk to amazing students and classmates. From a student whose family had won a green-card lottery to the U.S., I understood the power of a parent’s dedication and love to their children. From Muslim-American students who talked about Islamophobia in the United States, I realized how powerful it was to just talk and try to understand someone. My classmates — who I would never have probably talked to if I just saw them pass through the hallways — changed my life by telling me their stories.
It was then that journalism became far more than just a class, a deadline or a club — it became a passion.
When I applied to college, I really did consider journalism. But a variety of factors persuaded me to apply to chemistry instead. In the back of mind, though, I knew this wasn’t the end of my relationship with journalism.
As soon as the applications opened for The Daily Texan, UT’s student-run newspaper, I applied to be a science & technology reporter (like, literally on the first day of school), combining my love for journalism with my love for the sciences. And in a week, I became a staff member on one of the largest, oldest and best college newspapers in the nation. It’s definitely different from my high school experience: instead of having a month to write a story, I have one week to both conduct interviews and write a story. (So far, all of my stories have been written at 1 am the morning of deadline…)
But one thing has never changed: the opportunity to get to meet people and share their stories. I’ve already to talked to geographers, medical graduate students and even more amazing people on campus. (Another thing that hasn’t changed? The feeling of immense stress you get before deadlines. Ahh, deadlines. Damn all of y’all.)
Still, at the end of the day, I love all of it.