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First step in career often taken with eyes closed

By Kelly Monroe, a USI junior Journalism student
From the "Evansville Courier & Press", October 7, 2009

EVANSVILLE — It's about the time of year when high school seniors begin narrowing their college options, applying to those choice schools and planning for "the best year ever."

As a senior a few years back, I know the process all too well. For me, the biggest decision was what my major would be.

Being a journalist was a career I honestly never took too seriously. Yes, writing was always my forte, but it was just entertainment.

I admit I failed at a variety of majors over the last couple of years. After these failures, I decided to follow my passion and see where I would end up.

I made the decision to leave the small private college I was attending in northern Indiana. I packed up almost everything I owned and moved five hours from my hometown of Portland, Ind. I had lived there my entire life and knew almost everyone. But I was abandoning all of that and coming to a town where I did not know anyone.

I found an apartment near the University of Southern Indiana, where I began pursuing my degree in journalism. While attending an activity fair near the beginning of the year, I signed up to write for The Shield. A short time later, I attended my first meeting. I was still nervous but ready to see what I could do. Before I knew it, I had fallen in love with the crazy, chaotic life of being a reporter.

Around the middle of last year, my academic adviser passed on a job opportunity to all journalism students. The job was working as a sports reporter in Mount Vernon, Ind. I was still fairly new to the journalism world but decided to apply anyway.

I was called in for an interview, and within the hour, I had secured the job. I was ecstatic to have such a huge opportunity in a career field that's no walk in the park.

After a year of being a student reporter for The Shield and working in Mount Vernon, I applied to become the sports editor of The Shield. Much to my surprise, I again landed the job. I also have had the chance to be an intern this fall with the Courier & Press.

I admit I never saw any of this success coming when I moved here. If anyone had told me all of this would happen, I would probably think he was crazy.

So my advice to anyone trying to decide on a career is: Follow your passion, because you might even surprise yourself with what you can do.