My first newsroom was on HBO. Now I have two.

And just like that, I missed a day of NaBloPoMo. Oops.

I did attempt to write last night, but was exhausted and fell asleep in the middle of it, after a busier Sunday than I’ve had in a while.

It started with Bailie and Vanessa, two fellow journalists, at the Umbarger German Sausage Festival. Bailie said she was covering it for the paper, and we decided to tag along.

Vanessa, Bailie and I, waiting for our delicious plate of German food.

Vanessa, Bailie and I, waiting for our delicious plate of German food.

After that, I hung out with Vanessa and her classmates as they spent the afternoon working on a commercial, a project for their advertising class.

Skittles and dress up - what more do you need?

Skittles and dress up – what more do you need?

I was home by seven and then started on homework for my journalism classes. Later, I watched the season three premiere of The Newsroom, a show about journalists.

Notice a theme yet? Journalism and journalists everywhere. It began about two and a half years ago.

The months preceding my return to school must seem odd to anyone looking in from the outside. I had a job with a great company, a great salary, great hours and great benefits. Best of all, it was a job where I was helping people. I loved the job, I loved the work and I was good at it, good enough that I was training to become a team leader, which would mean traveling to other states for a good chunk of my time. It was perfect.

I was miserable.

I was miserable because even though I had somehow gotten lucky enough to fall into this wonderful job, something wasn’t right. Everyone kept telling me how great the job was, congratulating me on my accomplishments, telling me how great of a fit it was. But inside my own head, I knew something didn’t quite line up.

I didn’t want to give up something that seemed so perfect, but I began to dread work. At the same time, I was scared that I’d never find something that good again. I told myself I’d adapt, and learn to love it again. Besides, it was too hard to decide on something new and different. I wasn’t even sure I wanted something different.

So I stayed. I stayed and dealt with the anxiety and irritation and stress of knowing I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and not knowing how to fix it. All of it only served to send me into the familiar spiral of what seemed like never-ending depression.

I continued like this until early July 2012 when I stumbled upon this:

I was intrigued. Partly because when I think Jeff Daniels, I think Dumb & Dumber (my sister and I can quote it back and forth). So I found the first episode on HBO GO and watched it, followed quickly by the second and third. An idea started to build in me. I wanted to do THAT.

I knew that the show was at the very least, a romanticized version of journalism. This was the pretty version of news, the sexy version. I also knew that I didn’t want to be on TV. But watching the actors respond to a breaking news situation and being the ones to inform the rest of the world – I wanted to experience that. I’ve loved reading and learning for as long as I can remember and I’ve been writing stories, my own and others, at least as far back as elementary school. Why not do it for a reason that matters?

After a heart-to-heart with Brandon, I decided to quit my job and return to school to major in journalism. Within a matter of days, I was enrolled in my first semester of classes and by the next semester, I was part of a newsroom – the Ranger newsroom. By the end of that semester, I had an intern position waiting for me at the Globe-News. I’ve been in a newsroom almost every day since then.

I don’t guess I’ll ever know if something else would have acted as the catalyst, had I not stumbled upon The Newsroom. But within the first hour of my first class, Intro to Mass Comm (with the amazing Jill Gibson), I was almost able to feel the click as all the parts finally came together.

This is Jill, with Quintin. She is awesome.

This is Jill, with Quintin. She is awesome. Also, they float in space. (How is this the only photo I have of Jill?!)

A life in journalism is what I was supposed to have, and is the only type I can see myself having from now on.  I love everything about it, from public relations and design to social media and yes, even broadcast and radio.

Even on the hard days, when it seems like everyone has gone crazy, there’s not enough reporters to cover everything, I have a video to create, a photo gallery to finish, a source on the phone, a desk covered with empty Monsters, but lacking evidence of food, and other outlets reporting tweets, scanner traffic and rumors as fact so it looks like we’re oblivious when we’re really working on ACTUAL confirmation, I love it.

I’ve been in news for almost two years and every day is its own adventure. I’ve gotten to meet all kinds of people, from my friends and instructors at Amarillo College, to visiting celebrities and leaders, to the awesome cadets in the Palo Duro High School JROTC program. I’ve covered air shows, chili cook offs, lectures, board meetings, history festivals and haunted houses. I’ve covered happiness and sadness, life and death, anger and love.

Journalism is my life. Journalism gave me my life. Journalism, as crazy and corny as it sounds, saved my life.

As long as I’m writing and creating, and sharing that with the rest of the world, it’ll be enough.

 

Bonus from yesterday – Vanessa and her Skittles concussion:

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Give people a chance. C’mon. Do it.

They're not frowning at you. My family just frowns sometimes. OK, A lot.

They’re not frowning at you. My family just frowns sometimes. OK, A lot.

Sometimes when I interact with certain people, I wonder just how exhausting it must be to live their life. It’s not because they have a full schedule or because they have a physically demanding job.

It’s because of the amount of mental effort they put into being suspicious of everyone and everything around them.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that the world is perfect and all people are inherently good. I’m a reporter, more specifically, a breaking news reporter. It’s my job to notice the awful, crooked and corrupt. I see, hear and write about horrible things all of the time.

In my free time, I spend way too much time reading Reddit and watching YouTube videos and if I ever had a doubt in my mind that horrible people exist in this world, the proof is right there in the comments.

Some people are really awful.

This guy doesn't dislike you. He loves everyone. Just ask him. Also check out #badgerBS every Tuesday on www.acranger.com!

This guy isn’t awful. And he doesn’t dislike you. He loves everyone. Just ask him. Also, check out #badgerBS every Tuesday on http://www.acranger.com!

But I also know that the loudest voices are those of extremes. You don’t hear about people who are just being decent, living their lives, taking care of business. Every once in a while, you hear of something extraordinarily good. But mostly, you hear about the people who are yelling racial slurs and obscenities, and the people who are killing, cheating, lying and raping. Those are the types of things that leave a permanent mark.

The thing is, just because you hear about these things more often doesn’t mean that that’s all there is in the world. Just because there is a racist jerk on YouTube that says he’s from Texas doesn’t mean the rest of us are. Just because there is corruption in one police department, doesn’t mean there is in all of them.

Just because someone once said something awful to you, whether it be about your gender, your sexuality, your race, your religious beliefs or any of the other millions of things that make you YOU, doesn’t mean the rest of the world feels the same way.

I can’t imagine living like this. I chose to believe people are not malicious by nature. To constantly assume the worst in everyone and everything would crush me, exhaust me, break me. No one should live like that.

Again. no judgment here. He just really loves his shades.

Again. no judgment here. He just really loves his shades.

With the exception of a few people, most are actually pretty decent. Not perfect, but decent. Instead of thinking that everyone is out to be a jerk, remember that everyone will sometimes make mistakes and most will say or do things without realizing it will offend someone else.

They are not perfect and neither are you. Unless you ask them if they sincerely meant to offend you or hurt you, stop making assumptions that that is their intent.
Has someone explicitly told you that they hate you or wish harm upon you? If so, I’m sorry. I am.

But they’re one person, not the whole world. Quit giving everyone else the same, suspicious glare.

Give them a chance. After all, they’re giving you one, too.