Facing the blank page ahead

IUS Horizon

Reflecting on college experience shows strength

Every journalist and writer has come face-to-face with it.

The blank page.

It’s easy to have plenty of ideas floating around in your head, but the hardest thing to do is to put your ideas on paper — and have them make sense.

As journalists, we are taught that the lead is one of the key pieces to a story. The lead paragraph is what draws the curiosity out of the reader and makes them want to continue reading.

That is why the lead can be the hardest piece of the story to write.

Honestly, the hardest part is knowing where to begin your story.

The beginning of my story at IU Southeast didn’t have the smoothest transition from my small-town high school roots. When I came to IU Southeast my freshman year, I didn’t know anyone and it was hard for me to make any friends. My friends from home all went their separate ways to separate colleges.

Don’t get me wrong. I tried to make the transition seem OK. I went to class and hung out with my roommates, but I couldn’t get over the feeling of missing everything I had grown up with.

The only thing that seemed to be working for me was that I had chosen the right major. My journalism professors helped me realize that.

My second semester here, Jim St. Clair taught J200 Reporting, Writing and Editing, and even to this day — three years later — I continue to use the things I learned from him in that class.

In that class, I wrote my first profile story, news article, feature story and opinion piece. J200 terrified me, but it also helped reassure me that I enjoyed writing.

Just the other day, I found the opinion piece I had written for that very class with St. Clair’s handwritten notes at the bottom.

That piece was written when I was a freshman and I had three more unknown years of college ahead of me. Even now, being a senior with my future staring me in the face, a couple of those lines I had written so long ago still hit home with me.

“Every high school senior can’t wait for college. Seniors get into that final semester of high school and just begin counting down the days until they are done. They are just craving that new experience that is ahead of them. And when many of them are finally in college, they LOVE it! Well evidently…I’m not a normal teenager.”

Okay, so it needs updated. But if you change some of the words, it still applies today. See?

Every college senior can’t wait for graduation. Seniors get into that final semester of college and just begin counting down the days until they are done. They are just craving that new experience that is ahead of them. And when many of them are finally in the real world, they LOVE it! Well evidently…I’m not a normal 22-year-old college senior.

I am probably the only senior that isn’t excited about graduation and counting down the days until May 6.

I wasn’t excited for it freshman year, and I’m definitely not ready for it now that it is rapidly approaching.

Kim Kerby and her two roommates from 2009-2010, Danica Phillips-Houze and Kassi Ford,
reunited for Phillips-Houze’s bachelorette party last July and again for her wedding in August.
All three girls have continued to keep in touch since becoming roommates in Forest Lodge three
years ago.

The only thing I can do is take it one day at a time. I learned that everyone experiences college in a different way.

Some adjust to it easily, while others — like me — have a very difficult time. But I didn’t give up, and I’m very proud of myself because of that.

There isn’t a secret to how I made it through my freshman year. I just took it one day at a time and eventually I did make friends — friends that I continue to have today.

If you had asked me freshman year what the next three years would hold, I never would have guessed all the opportunities I would have been given.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been an intern at Today’s Woman magazine for a year. While working there I had pieces published, became part of a photo shoot and was sent to Kentucky Oaks 138, where I became part of the WAVE 3 team for a day.

I’m currently an intern for the University Communications office, made up of public relations, marketing and graphic designers, and, of course, I have been a part of The Horizon staff for the last year. Last semester, I was just a staff writer and this semester I was lucky enough to be promoted to editor.

Truthfully, I didn’t think I had it in me to be editor. I managed to prove myself wrong, though.

I want to thank The Horizon and its staff, because it has taught me things about myself I didn’t know before, and it has helped prepare me for the future.  I now believe that I do have what it takes to go out in the journalism world and find my place amongst it.

I’m still just as terrified for the future as I was freshman year, but now I know I will be fine. All the ups and downs of my college career have shown me that.

Sometimes the lead is the hardest part to write, but all you can do is just keep typing. Eventually the story unfolds itself.

Then it’s time to move on to the next story that starts with its own blank-page beginning.


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Profiles Editor