I sometimes think there’s nothing better for a person’s brain than sitting down with a cup of coffee to hash out some thoughts. And this past semester was so crazy on so many levels that I often wondered if and when I’d ever have time to just think again. In celebration of an end to that semester, I’m finally sitting down with my favorite mug to collect my thoughts, which I think is probably important for my sanity at this point. Here are some things I learned about myself this semester:
1. There is a whole lot I don’t know – and that’s ok. This semester I learned that the more you know you don’t know, the more you’re probably learning. It’s good to be aware of what you don’t know so that you can learn it. It’s amazing to think that six months ago I had really no idea how to, for example, write a broadcast-style script or design an infographic. I’m far from having any kind of mastery over those disciplines, but I feel like I have a better idea of what I don’t know, so I know where to start when I continue learning.
2. Sometimes the forces of the universe just really aren’t going to be on my side. I’m going to have days when I get a ticket for parking my car in a garage for 10 MINUTES while I return equipment to the lab, days that start at 4 a.m., days that last until 1 a.m. and days when it seems there isn’t enough caffeine on the planet to keep my eyes open and prevent my brain from frying. It’s all part of the reporting lifestyle. But that being said, I also learned caffeine is not a sufficient replacement for sleep.
3. If I want to grow and learn, I have to continue surrounding myself with people 100x smarter than myself. Nobody who was ever successful got to be that way by surrounding themselves with a bunch of morons. I’ve learned a lot this semester simply by absorbing all the wisdom my professors and fellow classmates had to offer. Smart people are fun to be around and they challenge me to be better. I hope to always be fortunate enough to have as many intelligent and creative people in my life as I do right now.
4. I need to always pull my weight in my relationships. No excuses. I think this is the most painful lesson I had to learn this semester. I’m 100 percent guilty of letting my work consume me. My work is the first to receive my time and my energy. And there’s a problem with that, and I hate the person I am when I allow my work to swallow me. Going forward with my life, I need to be more conscious of the fact that I tend to distribute my time this way. And I need to never take for granted all the caring and supportive people I have in my life, no matter how fast or slow the news day.
5. I must really love journalism or something. Because otherwise there’s no way in hell I would have made it through this semester otherwise. When things got tough, I got tougher. I’m proud of myself, and I am better equipped with the skills I need to tell the stories I want to tell. I fell in love with journalism while simultaneously hating it. It was a weird feeling, but it forced me to appreciate how difficult reporting can truly be. I have my faculty editors and teammates to thank for encouraging me, teaching me and reminding me why I came to Mizzou in the first place.