I’m often asked, how did I decide to become a journalist, and if I took journalism in high school?
The first answer is a little complicated, and the answer to the second question is no.
My journey started well after high school and a few years into my longer-than-typical college career.
In high school, journalism was not even on my radar. (Bobby Maddox, if you are reading this, I’m sorry.)
I was interested in many things, but not journalism. However, when I graduated, I had no clear direction of where I was going to go or what I was going to do. I was an average student who didn’t do well on the SAT or ACT, because I didn’t study and thought I could breeze through both like I did everything else.
I signed up for almost every agricultural class I could because I thought that was probably where my career path would lead. I took marine biology for my third year of science — at the time, we only needed three science courses to graduate. And, because I liked it so much, I followed up my senior year with environmental science instead of taking pre-calculus, since I already had my four math credits covered. I took more than the required computer classes, just because I didn’t really know where it would take me.
My lack of direction wasn’t because of my teachers not pushing me; it was because I didn’t apply myself to really think beyond the present and into the future.
I only applied for two colleges, and because of my average grades and sad SAT and ACT scores, I didn’t get accepted.
By the time my senior year came around, I was working two jobs — one through school, the other the restaurant.
The summer following graduation, a friend convinced me to go to San Antonio College with her for a visit. While there, I applied and was eventually accepted.
Having to set a major to start, I came up with business finance, that eventually turned into personal finance. That was until I took my first photography class.
I was always interested in cameras, and I took the plunge one day and bought one, not knowing how to use it.
After the first class, I was hooked. I changed my major again and started to focus on what I was doing. Unfortunately, it took me three years to get to that point.
While working on my associate’s degree, I began freelancing for the Seguin Gazette Enterprise as a sports photographer.
The following year, I was hired as a staff photographer — mainly because I could process film. In the two years that followed, I became more intrigued by the newspaper business.
Wanting to know more, a year after I graduated from San Antonio College, I enrolled at Texas State University. I graduated from there in December 2008, nearly 10 years after I graduated high school.
The following month, I was hired full time as a staff writer.
There’s a lot of things I know now that I wish I had known then. And some things I might have done differently — yes, Bobby, becoming part of the incredible journalism team.
But I am where I am now because of the path I chose, and that is something I wouldn’t change.