Tag Archives: #roadblocks

Lessons from Being Stuck in Traffic

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Estimation of what this past holiday season’s traffic will be like. Courtesy of Skift.com

The holiday season is wrapping up and with it (hopefully) the crazy traffic. There are many reasons why being stuck in traffic can be frustrating, but I think the biggest reason is because we are so focused on the destination. Traffic keeps us from getting where we need to go in the amount of time we want. However, if we take a step back, there is actually a lot to be learned  (and dare I say, enjoyed?) in traffic.

One day, I was on my way to work and happened to leave right when everyone else wanted to go to the mall. Sitting behind rows of cars, I turned on the radio and actually started enjoying the time in the car to just listen to music and slow down in the midst of the most hectic, fast-paced season of the year. I found myself admiring the scenery around me instead of worrying about whether or not I would make it to work on time. Then, it hit me. The past 5 months of my life were very much like a life version of a traffic jam. Going from a busy campus life schedule to taking three classes online at home was definitely a change of pace… and I hated it.

Just like we get frustrated with rush hour traffic, I was extremely frustrated with the detour my life took. Why? Because I was focused on the destination instead of the journey. After my five month traffic jam, I would be headed to Washington D.C. for a journalism semester, but in the mean time, I was stuck with a lot less to do than I had before. I didn’t like this little, uncertain plateau of waiting and planning. I wanted to experience, travel, do something exciting!

Thanks to being stuck in traffic on my way to work, I had time to reflect on this and realize that sometimes, life’s traffic jams are necessary. They can be painful and annoying, but they also give you time to slow down. Perhaps last semester was God’s way of getting my attention to get things in order before things started to pick up again.

The next time I hit traffic whether it be on the road or on my journey to journalism, I will choose to be thankful for the time to slow down and reflect on the finer things of life. Happy New Years!


The Hidden Chapter

13808443545_80d8a868b2_zAs I sit here devouring a pint of chocolate peanut butter cup gelato (Talenti‘s to be exact) I am at a loss for words (I know, that’s ironic) when I think about what just happened in the last two days. I created this blog to document my “journey to journalism.” That said, this post not only falls under the criteria of “stuff I need to blog about” but it is centered around what is arguably the biggest and most extreme decision I have made since coming to college.

You see, Monday was the first day of my junior year at HBU. After a long, tough summer as a camp counselor, disconnected from technology (which is why I haven’t posted in what seems like forever) I was extremely excited to be back. I bought my textbooks, unpacked my stuff (that took a while), and got ready to continue with all the organizations that I was involved in last semester. Little did I know that tomorrow, (Friday) I would no longer be a student at HBU and would begin the process to transfer as a full-time, online student at Regent University (as a government major). 

If you told me on Monday that I would be back at home in Hawaii next week, I would think you were crazy. I love HBU and even though I miss my family, I have such a great support system here. Plus, I was going to see my family during Christmas break. Why then would I make such a drastic decision to leave?

I don’t know if I ever posted about this, but my “college plan” included doing a study abroad Washington Journalism Center semester in D.C. and ideally, graduating early. This was something that I had been thinking about since before I came to college, and as my time here unfolded, it looked like I would be able to finish up my journalism classes through that program in D.C., come back to Houston, take summer classes, and graduate as a “baby senior” next August. Then I met with the dean of my department and he informed me that if I were to do the study abroad semester, I would have to pay my school’s tuition along with the full tuition of the program ($15,000 not including food and transportation). In other words, I would be paying two tuitions for one semester.

Obviously, that left me with a huge financial problem, but that wasn’t the only issue. Most of my journalism classes were supposed to be covered by the credits I would earn in D.C. so my plan to graduate early also went out the door. On top of that, my school’s School of Fine Arts, and more specifically the journalism program, is going through a transitional stage. I’m not going to try to explain it all, but simply put, there isn’t really a program for those who want to go into reporting/news media. When I took all of that into consideration, I felt, in terms of my education, I had hit a roadblock.

So, here I am. Realizing that the older you get, the more frequent and extreme unexpected situations and changes become. In a sense, I’m learning to get used to it and make the most of it, but here’s to hoping that I won’t have to make a decision like this again in the near future. Apparently, this week marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life, except I did not see this one coming. 


Nothing But the… Lessons.

ImageLast week was tough. To sum up the major things: my opinion editor/executive managing editor told me she wouldn’t be able to continue working for the paper after spring break, the company that prints my school’s newspapers is shutting down next month, the shipment of the right paper wasn’t in on time for publication so we had to use a mix of two different papers for this issue, I found out my school is not going to continue the journalism major, and I stayed in the office working until 2 a.m. on deadline for our first 16 page issue of the semester. Okay, so that wasn’t summing it up, and in the end, all those things worked themselves out (and I’m still alive). Although I wouldn’t willingly relive that week, I gained a lot of valuable lessons through those experiences. Here are a few. 

Censorship = A Journalist’s Worst Nightmare: I kind of hinted at this in my last post, but I ran into an issue at my university that taught me that I am not exactly free to publish everything. It was a bit frustrating trying to understand and work with people who are above me who say they have the school’s best in mind but inadvertently make it more difficult for the editor in chief of the school paper  (*cough* me *cough*) to keep students updated. That whole experience though will be something that I will never forget and it made me see that reporting news is a lot more complicated than what it seems on the surface. There are obviously those things that you can’t publish due to legal reasons, but there are also stories that may do more harm than good, so do you still publish it? 

Don’t Report When You’re Angry: Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way, but going off of the previous lesson, there were a lot of things that I said in the heat of the moment that I am thankful I did not publish. Especially when there’s an issue that is close to you, give it some time before deciding if and how you’re going to write about it. Notice this blog post didn’t come until a full week later, I don’t even want to think about what I would’ve posted if I wrote this last week.

Focus. Focus. Focus!: There is way too much to cover to get so caught up in the little issues. I learned that I not only have to be intentional with my time, but also with my thoughts. There are so many times when I spend a ridiculous amount of time just brainstorming a bunch of different story ideas, but never have the time to see them through. Brainstorming is good, but there comes a time where you just have to pick one thing, cut your losses, and run with it. 

Expect the Unexpected:  Going into last week, I did not expect that I would need to consider finding a new printer and an executive managing editor (and I don’t know if you understand how much my executive managing editor means to me…she keeps me sane during deadlines!). I’m pretty sure I mentioned this before, and I assure you, I will mention this again, but the job description of editor in chief/journalism student grows bigger and bigger every day. I did not expect to have to deal with so much budget, financial, crises management, business issues, but it’s teaching me a lot.

News Goes On…and So Does Life: Despite whatever unexpected event or crises comes up, new news to report is being made every second. Even if I miss one opportunity or breaking story, there is always going to be another story to cover. That does not take away the disappointment that comes with a lost story, but it does give you what it takes to move on to the next story.  

 


What is the Purpose of a Journalist? pt. 2

unnamedIn part 1, I talked about the challenges that come with journalism being both a business and a service. However, in this post, I want to key in on the service aspect of journalism. Something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is who do I serve? Yes, the news media should exist to inform the public, but when you really think about it, there at least two different ways to approach this “service” aspect of journalism.

Currently, as the editor in chief of my university’s newspaper, I’ve been faced with the challenge of determining who the school’s publication exists to serve – the students or the administration? As a newspaper, especially of a school, you represent something whether it be your organization, cause or country. However, you also have a responsibility to keep your audience informed whether the news about what you represent is positive or negative; otherwise, you walk the fine line of being biased. The dilemma I have found myself facing quite frequently is wanting to keep students informed while at the same time respecting my school’s reputation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I really love my school and I believe it has so much to offer. There is definitely a lot of good news to cover, but when things come up that concern students, I would like to be able to give them the information they want to know. After all, isn’t that what a newspaper is for? Even if the article addresses a “problem” in the school, I believe being transparent and maintaining open communication with students is more advantageous than only covering the great victories, improvements and on-campus conferences. If there is nothing being released from the administration or people who are involved in the issue, students will eventually start filling in the gaps on their own whether it’s with facts or with rumors. That’s why I think there are definitely pros to publishing “bad news” (by “bad” I’m referring to the topic, not the quality… just wanted to clarify that).

As a student and an editor in chief, I definitely want to respect my school and highlight all our accomplishes. I want our newspaper to be a great representation of the university, but does that mean we can’t publish stories that address areas of improvement or weaknesses in our school as well? Isn’t it biased to only publish good news? How do you respectfully publish “bad news”? Thoughts?


Roadblock: InDesign, Stress, and Anticipation – Oh My!

Yesterday was the day before the publication of my first issue as editor-in-chief of The Collegian (my university’s newspaper), and I basically spent all my time in the office working with InDesign to reformat everything before emailing the pages to the printer. Let me just say that my experience with InDesign so far has not been a positive one and even though our paper probably wouldn’t exist without it, I’ll be honest, there are times when I loathe the person who invented it – okay, maybe not loathe, but you get the point.

The scary part of looking at a paper right before you email it in is that you could mess up weeks worth of work with one click of a button. Also, you get really picky about the layout and begin zooming in on the pages to make sure every little line and box and column fits in its place. The morning before I sent in the issue to be printed, I realized that something had happened to the format of the papers and they were a little outside of the lines, meaning that there might’ve been a chance that some of the pages would’ve been cut off when they were printed.

Anyway, needless to say, I was a bit stressed out but the paper was sent in on time and anxiety took the place of the stress. In fact, right now, I am sitting in the office waiting the arrival of the newspapers… not to mention the papers were supposed to be here 20 minutes ago and it looks like one of our page numbers were wrong (which was probably my fault). Oh, the life of a student journalist.


Roadblock: My Portfolio

I’m going to start a sort of series of the different challenges or “bumps in the road” so to speak that come up as I learn more about what it takes to be a journalist. A huge part of learning is realizing how much you didn’t know in the first place and I’ve had way too many of those moments when it comes to journalism. So, whenever a new challenge arises, expect to see a new post with the title “Roadblock: …”

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A glimpse of my “portfolio–in progress”

The first “roadblock” has to do with putting together my portfolio. As I have been collecting clippings and newspapers that contain an article that I wrote, I realized that I am having a hard time determining how to keep track of everything. I haven’t officially learned how to put a portfolio together but I know that I need to be collecting my work now and keep a record of what I write.

When I was in high school and opportunities to write for a magazine or newspaper weren’t so common, it was easy to keep track of my work. Also, when I did write, that’s all that I did–write.

Being a part of my university’s school newspaper, as an assistant news editor, I am starting to realize that keeping track of my work is a lot harder than I anticipated. As journalists, you take pictures, blog, edit, produce, write, design, illustrate and work with film. I am not really sure how I’m supposed to document all of that in a way that I can present to my (potential/future) employers.

This made me question: how do journalists keep track of everything they do? Unlike most other careers, I feel like journalists are always adding to their portfolio daily. I started my portfolio in a binder, now I’m thinking I’m going to need a file cabinet!