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As school started Jan. 9, so did the homework. As always, the first week of school would include a lot of introduction assignments. I usually do these assignments as fast as I can to get them completed.
This year, one of these assignments did a little more than help me get acquainted with my teacher and my classmates—it helped me get re-acquainted with myself.
The assignment asked the usual questions about my education and career goals. As I was working on the paper, I began to think about what it was I really wanted to do and why. After a lot of thinking, I realized I had always known what I wanted to do—I just needed to stay on the right track.
When I was growing up, my family always watched the news. Whenever a major event happened, the TV was tuned to the news before school, after and during dinner. I could still hear the reporters’ voices blaring when I went to bed. I quickly learned breaking news was something to get excited about.
I was in the fifth grade when the first Gulf War began. The TV was on day and night. The correspondents reporting from the Middle East were keeping everyone at home informed, and the news anchors were interviewing all the high-ranking officials. I knew then I wanted to be a reporter.
It wasn’t long before I was running around the house pretending to be a reporter on assignment. Toilet paper rolls with a little tinfoil on the top made great microphones, and so did hairbrushes.
My little sister could always be counted on to give a lively interview.
“What do you have to say about that?” I would say as I shoved the “microphone” into my sister’s face.
Sometimes she would answer me and sometimes she would slap me. I guess she was trying to prepare me in case I was ever on assignment in a hostile environment.
As I got older, I made a point to get on every school’s newspaper staff, attend every journalism workshop and learn as much as possible before I went off to college.
Somewhere along the way, I started to question if the career aspirations I had as a little girl were still true today. With every psychology, philosophy or biology class, I would think, “Well, maybe I want to do this.”
But a few weeks later, something exciting would happen and I would sit at home trying to imagine how I would tell the story.
After a lot of thought and a few drafts, I finished my dreaded introduction assignment—and for once, it wasn’t a burden. I got to know and understand myself a little better. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s what the professor intended.