As I parked my car in the parking lot by the women’s dorms at Tabor College last Monday, I realized just how much my life and my plans have changed since I did the exact same thing a year ago.
Last year, I spent the whole week of junior camp looking forward to my trip to Indiana University at the end of the month. Even though I was excited for the visit and feeling sure that I would be a future Hoosier, I still had so many doubts.
My column that I wrote in September, with the headline “Choosing a college has this senior freaking out,” further proved my doubts and confusion.
Fast forward about nine months. Here I am, having just spent a week at junior camp, looking forward to my trip to Columbia to enroll at the University of Missouri. But even crazier than my college decision story, which I wrote about in February, might possibly be the story of my decision to become a journalist.
When I entered high school, I was preparing for a career as either an architect or interior designer. As I was looking through some old high school papers earlier this month, I found a document from freshman enrollment with “architect, interior designer, actor” written at the top. Nowhere was journalist even mentioned.
However, I wasn’t altogether sure about those career choices at the time. I loved the shows on HGTV, so I thought I would study something along those lines. There was also a part of me that wanted to become a Disney imagineer and design rides for Disney World. The only thing I thought I was sure of was that I would attend Kansas State University someday.
It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I realized that I liked to write. As a child, I wrote several short stories, and each Christmas I wrote a play my family would perform for my grandparents.
My second year of high school, I decided to be a part of the yearbook staff. That was when my journalism seed was planted. I actually enjoyed writing the stories for my pages, a task that most yearbook members dread.
After encouragement from my adviser and other staff members, I joined the newspaper staff my junior year. Newspaper quickly became my favorite subject.
It was my junior year that I began thinking about becoming a journalist, although I cannot pinpoint an exact moment when I changed plans. But when I took my first college visit to K-State that fall, I found myself looking at the journalism school and talking to a journalism adviser.
After that visit, I didn’t have any questions about what I wanted to study. Thinking about spending the rest of my life reporting the news gave me an excitement I hadn’t felt when thinking about other careers.
I think one of the reasons I had been so unsure of what I wanted to do with my future was that I enjoyed so many different things. I wanted to do something that involved math, English, theater, photography, design, traveling and more. Although journalism does not directly involve all of those things, through reporting different stories, I could indirectly continue to learn about all kinds of subjects.
At that point, I wanted to be a print journalist. A field trip to KWCH with my newspaper class changed that. Suddenly, all my questions and prayers about my future career seemed to be answered. I had always liked watching the “Today Show” and other news programs, but finally I realized I didn’t want to just watch the news, I wanted to be on it.
With that realization came many questions. Could a Christian, small-town girl really make it as a top journalist? While most of those questions are yet to be answered, the most important one has. I believe God has called me to this profession. Otherwise, there is no possible way to explain why I suddenly started telling people I wanted to become a journalist.
My experiences with making both my field of study and college decisions have taught me some valuable lessons that I will remember as I set off to follow my dream.
Most importantly, though, I learned that no matter how confused and doubtful I might feel about the future, I can always know that Jeremiah 29:11 will hold true: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”