Editing, broadcasting experiences redefine future plans

Happy equals certain. I long equated the two, convinced that planning — the knowledge of where I would go next and ultimately, who I would become in the future — led to fulfillment. And it did, for a while, anyway. I could depend on my color-coded calendar to guide me to the next meeting, week, month, year. But junior year marked the end of that beloved equation, and weirdly enough, I’m content with the change.

Before the year began, I had my life largely figured out: I would love being editor-in-chief of The Times-Delphic at Drake. That experience would inevitably lead to a summer internship at some big-name daily newspaper. After graduating in December, I would get a full-time reporter job at the same big-name daily.

Though I loved my time editing the TD this past school year, I admit it made me rethink my longtime plan to be an editor. Leading the bright, quirky TD staff taught me accountability and patience, but I missed the thrill of reporting and writing — that beautiful moment of finally securing an interview with the source. You know the one I’m talking about: the one you’ve been playing phone tag with all week, the one who gives your story that final, essential nugget of insight.

That certainty for the future got even muddier when I delved into the realm of TV field photography this semester. As the packages and editing got more complicated — and as I grew more comfortable with the work — my plan grew murkier. I reached a turning point when a friend recently asked me the quintessential college question: “What are you doing after graduation?” And for the first time since, well, ever, I didn’t have a ready-made reply.

“I don’t know,” became my go-to. After a few paralyzing moments of, “I, uh, um, well, I don’t really know yet,” I redefined certainty — and created a new reply to go with it: “I don’t know. I could write for a daily paper. I could work at a broadcasting station. But I could go into web management. Maybe social media.” It’s in that reply I’ve found a new kind of certainty. Wherever I go after my graduation in December, I’m certain change is the only guarantee — and I like it that way.

After three years of working in the print world, I’ll make a big change May 20 when I begin my job as a communications assistant at the Science Center of Iowa. There, I’ll be blogging, working with social media and editing and producing video. And when my future work friends ask me what I’m going to do after graduation, I know exactly how I’ll reply.

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