Week 19: Just getting started

About two months ago, I got an email from my former professor/boss at Mizzou asking me to participate in the annual collection of “profiles in success.” Basically, every year in the PR writing class, each student is assigned a J-School alum on whom to write a profile.

My reaction: “Of course! Absolutely. But I mean, are you sure?” I’m 25. I’m four years into my career. If you ask me, I haven’t done anything yet.

Nonetheless, onward we went, and the profile is now published.

I’ll spare you the long behind-the-scenes story, but going through this process left me with a few observations.

First, as I said, I have barely made a dent in my career. Talking with a college student did allow for some nice reflection on what I have done so far, but at the same time, it made it glaringly obvious to me that four years is nothing. And I want it to be nothing. I plan to be in this field for a long time, and I hope to accomplish much, much more in the next five, 10, 20 years. If all goes according to plan, a profile on me written in 2040 should be 50 times more interesting than this one.

Second, high school was a long time ago. As much as I am still new in my career, that era of my life is way in the rearview mirror (eight years ago!). Same deal with college, though not to quite the same extent. Rebecca (the writer) asked me for anecdotes and specific information from my high school newspaper days, and I could barely come up with anything. And I have a really good memory!

Third, although I learned a ton in college, I have learned infinitely more in the four years since. Talking to someone who has yet to obtain experience outside the classroom made me appreciate how much I have realized about the industry since my time at Mizzou. Don’t get me wrong: You get more real-world journalism experience at Mizzou than you will anywhere else, but still, you don’t apply it on a full-time, day-to-day basis until you’re out living it. Even just four years in, present-day Amy is so much wiser and smarter than senior-in-college Amy.

Finally, being on the other side was an interesting experience. By that, I mean being the person interviewed, the one answering questions, the one wondering what the reporter will write about me. That was different — and slightly unnerving. At the same time, I became aware of just how deep my editor roots run. I found myself wanting to coach Rebecca. At times, I knew what she was trying to get from me, but she wasn’t asking the right question. Often, I wanted to remind her to be more specific or nudge her to ask a follow-up question. I wanted to work with and engage with her the way I do my writers. That wasn’t my job here, but even so, I tried to help Rebecca where I could.

In the end, I think the story came out well. There were plenty of bumps along the way (that’s another story), but it’s pretty neat to read about myself like this. I’m still confused as to why anyone thinks I’m worth profiling, but I won’t let that stop me from feeling flattered, honored and motivated — to have much more worth writing about the next time someone asks.

Endnotes:

Currently reading: The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand (chicklit to follow the ESPN tome)

Currently watching: Grace & Frankie, season 1

Song of the week: Brandon Flowers’ “Can’t Deny My Love”

Plans for the weekend: My roommates have a few friends staying with us, so I am looking forward to having a full house and spending time with everyone.

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