If you want to get somewhere in life, do everything it takes

This goes out to the kids with the awkward smile, the ones who got picked last in the kickball line up and the ones who sat in the back not to be cool, but not to be seen. This is for all the rural kids, urban kids and suburban kids with big dreams and little hope.

Seize every chance, no matter how small or irrelevant they may seem. Even if the opportunity seems like your dreams’ weird third cousin’s wife’s sister, well, everything needs a support network.

Even though a marketing internship in the city government might seem like an odd choice for a journalist, it reminded me that the majority of government officials are well meaning. They have their own lives, their own families and their own experiences. Because while one of the key characteristics of journalism I love is that I can cover science fairs and suicides on the same day, journalists interact with hundreds of people each week. We use their words, their thoughts and their facts in my writing each and every day. And sometimes we need the chance to un-jade ourselves.

Experience is always an asset. Join clubs in your major, know the faculty in your department and pick up as many jobs, internships and e-board positions as you can. Then you can pick and choose from your experiences to make sure you are a good fit for any job you might decide to apply for.

I never understood why so few journalism majors worked with the student newspaper. If you don’t like how something is being done, come and change it. We are all students here, just doing the best that we can. The more writers and editors we have, the better our paper is. This type of experience is critical for journalism students looking for a internship. But, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Perhaps this is because I am a journalist, but my next spiel is about curiosity. Try something different. Ask questions and never stop learning. Take a random class in psychology, biology, zoology, or any other ‘ology.’ ‘ory’ or ‘istry.’ Everything in our world is interconnected, especially with the advent of the Internet. And now everything is changing exponentially faster than say, in the 90s.

And the last thing is to travel. Bilbo Baggins, in the “The Fellowship of the Ring,” said, “It’s dangerous business walking out your door. You step onto the road and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you will be swept off to.”

Travel gives us ideas and inspirations. Changes our viewpoint, and adjusts our course.

Don’t be afraid to change your plans, once, twice or three times.

But, I think one of the most important things travel does is allows us to interact with people of every culture. It allows us to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions. It reduces our ethnocentricity. We cannot judge other cultures for their traditions without fully understanding how they came about, why they are still in tact and why the people still abide by them.

So travel has created my path. I will be moving halfway across the country to Missouri, a region with their own definition of time and an emphasis on different values from my home of upstate New York.

And while I’m there, I will be studying international journalism with concentrations in convergence journalism and data-driven investigations to bring the global community to a local level. So, if you can’t travel, maybe I can help you understand your world just a little bit better.

For a small town girl, it’s not too bad. As cliché as it may be, no matter where you’re from or where you want to go, chase your dreams.

So, this is for all those who hated me and broke me. But more importantly for those who loved me and made me. Thank you for making these three years earning my bachelor’s wonderful.