Graduating from the University of Maryland

It’s one of those nights. The moon is far and small in a brisk December sky. I’m in bed, not sleeping, but thinking about tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’m graduating from the University of Maryland. Finally I can say those words: I’m a graduate, an alum of the university.

Tomorrow the next part of my journalism adventure begins. Even though I haven’t yet found a full-time job in journalism, I remain vigilant. Just like the countless scholarship and internship applications I submitted over the years, I believe I will eventually be chosen by continuously applying. I’ve learned that persistence pays off.

I’m excited for this journey. I have gained invaluable insight from student journalism and many internships. I have spent time as an editor-in-chief, reporter, web designer, social media manager and copy editor. These experiences have shown me that I’m most fulfilled and challenged when writing features and working on interactive design. The details in feature stories provide clearer pictures of sources, of people. And designing interactive maps, charts and graphics helps readers more easily understand data and stories. I am happy when I can help myself and readers understand.

At the end of high school, I wrote a senior column as the editor-in-chief of The Warrior student newspaper. It was my chance to say goodbye to high school, reflect and gaze into the future. In my column, I asked readers not to forget me. It was my readers who made me something, who I would disappear without. I was exploring the mantra “to be remembered, leave your mark.”

Now, four and a half years later, I’m penning a new column and message. I realize how much more I am in charge of my future. I’m graduating with extensive skills and a dogged determination.

I’m entering the professional world of journalism at a time when the very idea of who is a journalist and if newspapers will survive is questioned. Media is undergoing an ongoing digital revolution. And I’m excited to be part of the future of news.

This next year will probably hold some of the hardest, most trying moments in my life. I’m moving back home for the time being until I find a steady income. I’m searching for and will hopefully find a full-time job. I will be an entry-level journalist. I will have to begin paying back my student loans. I will make mistakes — and I will grow.

I will certainly learn a lot as a graduate . Much more than I did in j-school. This is one of the reasons I’m so fulfilled with a career in journalism — I learn something new every day.

I’m on the cusp of being a reporter or interactive/web designer at a media organization in the D.C. area. The electricity of the unknown and a new beginning is humming within me.

I am ready.