Journalism is not my passion; freshmen are

So I’ve been cheating the system and have been listening to the LT 2011 talks on my iPod. It’s been interesting because so far I’ve only listened to sermons from pastors from The Rock, so I’ve been familiar with a few of their illustrations, or in Ed’s case, his sermon, since I’ve heard some of it before. Plus this summer everyone is reading Chazown, which is a great book (I recommend it to all college students!), but I have already read it! So basically this is all refresher information so far.

But today I listened to a sermon that started off with a “My Story.” “My Story” is a time for LTers to share what God has been doing in their life related to whatever you’ve been talking about at LT. For this particular sermon, a girl named Alecia from Texas A&M spoke about figuring out her passions. Now, I’ve never met Alecia, but after listening to her story, I definitely identified with a lot of what she said, and it’d be pretty sweet if we got to meet once she gets back from Colorado because she seems really cool.

The two main things Alecia stressed were that opportunities given to you and your interests do not necessarily indicate your passions. I couldn’t agree more! Back when I read Chazown in the spring semester of my junior year of college, I was trying to figure out what I was passionate about. I was nearing the end of my undergraduate degree in journalism, and though I liked certain parts of journalism (grammar, design), I just didn’t feel passionate about it. I was interested in journalism, but I didn’t have a God-given desire to pursue it and change the world through it.

Chazown helped me realize that I am passionate about freshmen. Here’s what I wrote in my career statement for my application for grad school here at A&M (if there are any of my former Twain residents reading this, I might have talked about you without using your name… heh):

I adore freshman. I love every little thing about them. I love the way they roll their eyes when their parents ask all the right questions on a school tour. I love the way they email you before they’ve picked a college and ask if it’s possible to be in a sorority and get good grades at your school. I love they way they email you a week before move-in and ask if they should bring their own milk from home, seven hours away, or if there’s somewhere near the dorm they can buy it. I love the way they put up a safe, false front upon first meeting their peers on move-in day in order to get along with as many people as possible. I love the way these false fronts slowly crumble as freshmen realize who they are and what they want to become, as they embrace their personalities and quirks and learn to love their newfound identities.

The first year of college can make or break students, and after working in Residential Life for three years, I have seen both sides of the coin. I’ve seen happy-go-lucky-blondes diminished to teary messes after their first break up. I’ve seen curly-haired brunettes embrace the challenges of the Missouri School of Journalism and succeed with flying colors. I’ve seen quiet, reserved boys fall off the radar and fade into oblivion. I’ve seen others embrace their inner nerd and conquer the dreams they set out to accomplish. I have made it my mission to help as many freshmen as possible to have a good freshman year, conquering goals and living out dreams rather fading off the radar of college.

What I’ve realized is that while freshmen will learn a lot by trial an error, they also don’t mind a little guidance from someone who is older and wiser, and I have loved being that older-and-wiser person through my jobs as a peer advisor and as one of MU’s Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) student coordinators. As a peer advisor, I was able to interact and form relationships with hundreds of freshmen over the course of two years. I was there for them when they blew a fuse while microwaving macaroni and cheese and blow-drying their hair; I was there for them when they weren’t sure what classes they needed to take the next semester; I was there for them when they fought with their roommates; and I was there for them when they cried over boys, girls and D- papers. I was able to help them process through these experiences and make the best of them. I was there to give advice, listen and be a shoulder to lean on. By pursuing a Master’s degree in the field of Student Affairs, I hope to be that older-and-wiser person for the rest of my career, moving from simple things like blown fuses to larger issues such as leadership development and academic retention.

As I repeatedly tell people who ask why I’m going to grad school, “I like a lot of things about journalism, but I’m not passionate about it. I’m passionate about the freshman transition to college.”

But what’s cool is that even though journalism is not my passion, God is still allowing me to use my interests in specific aspects of journalism to pursue my passion! I get to design posters and handbooks and newsletters as part of my student affairs job! It’s a pretty freaking awesome set-up. God is good like that!

Anyway, I just thought I would share my God-given passion and explain a little more why I’m going to grad school. It’s been a beautiful journey with God figuring out what I want to do with my life, and I’m excited to see where else his plans take me!

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