A Doses of Inspiration

Posted on June 8, 2011

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There are very few opportunities in life where someone with the potential of inspiring others takes time out of their busy schedule to come into a classroom full of young aspiring professionals and talk to them about how to get started to launch their career in order to not fall behind with today’s competing market. Last Monday, a former FIU-School of Journalism and Mass Communications graduate came into my Intro to Journalism class to talk about her journey into the media world.

Getting to journalism class every Monday and Wednesday is always a mission. That morning it took me about 20 minutes to get out of bed after hitting the snooze button on my alarm at 7 a.m., leaving me with only 15 minutes to do my morning routine and to get something quick to eat before slamming my house door behind, getting in my car and driving to FIU’s south campus – Modesto Maidique. It takes me about 15 to 20 minutes on Florida’s Turnpike to get to campus depending on the traffic; one of the annoying realities to commuting while attending to a university in Miami. Once on campus I have to take FIU’s Golden Panther Express, a bus that takes students from south to north campus and visa versa, which leaves at 8:15 a.m. The drive is about 45 minutes long, but it is enjoyable since it relieves the passenger from the stress of driving through Miami traffic. I use this time to catch up with sleep or, even better, daydream about my future. Downtime’s like those always get me thinking about my path and if I am doing everything in my ability to be happy (first and foremost) and successful. That morning, I decided that I still had some more goals to reach before my view of the future could be clear.

Arriving to the north campus, Biscayne Bay, I stepped down from the bus intrigued and wondering what the topic would be for today’s intro to journalism class. Our class is infamous for getting very intense with in-class discussions, especially those involving delicate subjects. It has never gotten out of hand, thank goodness, but we have had people storm out because they did not agree with comments other students make. I am all for these discussions, though. I believe they can be very healthy and educational, even more so with a professor as the mediator. As I got closer to the large conference room where my class is held, I see Professor Richards talking to an unfamiliar girl whom looked very much like any other student. It seemed normal, like a student catching up with an old professor, I ignored it and sat down at the seat on the second to the last row by the right of the room close to the aisle; the usual. Ten minutes pass and as more classmates arrive, the class finally begins.

Professor Richards invites the girl whom he was talking to, to sit next to him in the mini-stage of the conference room. He introduces her as Jasmine, as they get settled into their chairs. She was very unique, with her own individual style; she looked like she was in her twenties still but a bit shy, until she opened her mouth.

Jasmine began by introducing herself and sharing with us some anecdotes about her experiences. It was very impressive to find out that this girl was already publishing for The Miami Herald by her sophomore year. I immediately found myself wondering, “How did she do it?” Jasmine had a simple answer: she simply – became proactive about writing and made it her goal to get published as soon as she could. That later became her message to our class and the theme for today’s class topic.

Jasmine would not stop smiling as she continued sharing her stories. One of the things I learned from listening to her experiences was the realization of how great of a power we have as individuals to make an impact on others by doing the most minimal yet thoughtful efforts. Things that get you farther in life are sometimes the things you think about the least, and sometimes thinking about yourself less and thinking more of others is just the thing that helps you grow professionally, spiritually and even socially. What she did specifically that made me realize the above conclusion was the fact that she went out of her way to clip out a story from the newspaper about the couple that had won the Powerball at the time and gave it to one of the winners for them to preserve and remember that wonderful and lucky moment they shared together. The act of Jasmine taking the time to cut the story out and later approaching the lady from the lucky couple and then acting in the moment, and just quickly writing on a scrap piece of paper her contact information, in case she ever wanted to talk to a newspaper again must have remarkably impacted the lucky lady. The reason why is because when the time came to give an exclusive about the separation of the couple due to money arguments, the person the lady called was nonetheless than Jasmine.

Our insightful guest speaker shared many other stories that were very interesting as well; she also kept the whole class interactive, answering questions and whatnot.  She encouraged my class to find ways to appeal to the audience we will be writing to in innovative ways. She also suggested we should take ownership over the stories we end up covering but most importantly to enjoy the job for what it was. I realized that we have a powerful job that influences people on a day-to-day basis with just the tip of our fingers. The key is to keep writing and to really commit to my craft.

I am studying to be a broadcast journalist but I got inspired to keep a journal from now on. I see the importance of writing and how this skill could potentially be related to almost everything in life. I decided to practice writing from now on to keep my mind working and proactive, since I came to find that is the only way I can challenge myself in this area of study. The new found encouragement to write drove me to buy a new journal for myself. My first journal is pictured above along with my computer where I noticeably work on most of my projects. I also got the motivation to apply to join my universities student-ran newspaper called The Beacon. I told them I was interested in both writing for them and helping out with videography for any possible story. I am happy to say that they were interested in working with me and were very open to the idea I had presented to them about possibly making a biweekly show for their website. Maybe I can make a difference.

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