Growing up in the small seaside town of Nokomis, Fla., I had always wanted to be either a journalist or a veterinarian. I realized early on that math and science were not my forte, so ever since then I have had a fairly one-track mind for a career goal. I worked on my elementary/middle school’s morning news program, and in the fifth grade, a friend and I made an ill-fated attempt to start a “newspaper” written in Microsoft Word. A winning plan, right? Moving onto high school in nearby Venice, newspaper writing became a reality, and I continued to do television as well. I relished it. So it was only natural that I go to a journalism school, right? 

Originally I had my heart set on the University of Florida. But in Summer 2010, while I was visiting family in Wisconsin, I asked on a whim if we could plan a visit to Mizzou as a part of our (long) drive home. I had always heard good things about Mizzou’s journalism program and wanted to check it out for myself. When I got to Mizzou, I was sold instantly. The real-world experience and new media programs that the J-School offered enthralled me. This is where I wanted to be. And most of all, I realized that I wanted to leave the quiet town and somewhat dysfunctional state I spent 18 years in for something new. So, while most everyone else in my high school attended nearby in-state institutions, with some attending more distant flagship state schools like UF and Florida State University, I went off to Mizzou ready to embrace a new direction. 

So far my journalism classes have been challenging, rewarding, and just a little bit (sarcasm) frustrating. J1100 was a piece of cake (for me, anyway), but J2000 and J2100 were time-consuming and hellacious. But I learned a lot. For example, people in Columbia suffer from some serious “interview fatigue” (an unfortunate side-effect of our little J-School) and one has to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks when it comes to stories in this town. So I have learned to salvage what I thought was un-salvageable and be on my toes in those two classes. 

That being said, I feel that J2150 will be my most important journalism class so far, because the emphasis on digital media is higher than ever thanks to the Internet. These days, a journalist cannot excel simply by being a good writer or being skilled in front of the camera; he or she must master photojournalism and social media as well. I hope that J2150 imparts me with the basics of all of these skills and more so I can become the best all-around journalist that I can possibly be. 

So come along, blog with me, enjoy the ride. But keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. Thank you, and welcome aboard.