It’s been a while since I posted, but I’ve had some big life changes recently. Most notably, I just completed my first week as a professional journalist. It’s been over two years in the making, as I returned to graduate school to study journalism and one day get paid to report on and write up people’s stories.
I’m now a writer at the Gillette News Record, a paper transitioning to a digital-first model that lives in one of the largest cities in Wyoming. I’m eager to explore all this city and the wider West has to offer, and I feel incredibly lucky to have been hired to do what I exactly what I wanted during the midst of an economic downturn the size and scope of the one the U.S. is now enduring.
The night before my first day was not unlike numerous eves of first days in my life. I’ve evolved from the nights before the first days of school when I couldn’t sleep due to anxiety and excitement and a racing mind. But that’s not to say my mind allowed me to rest easy.
When I graduated graduate school, someone very dear to me gave me an incredible gift, remarkable not only in the physical object but in the thought and effort required to make it happen. It was a box filled with cards and notes from family, friends, professors, mentors, and loved ones who’d been asked to write a note as I concluded an unforgettable, life-changing experience and grappled with the uncertainty that awaited me.
It was such a testament to the love that exists in my life, and a reminder that’s much needed when I can’t see the forest for the trees.
So on the night before I started my new job, I felt it was appropriate to return to that box and the letters it contained as a moment of reflection and appreciation for the small army of people who’d made that new job possible.
I sat and read through the uplifting and all-too-kind words, and I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the small army of friends, family, and loved ones on whose shoulders I stand. Having a job now feels incredible and lucky as much as anything, but it pales in comparison to feeling of the love and support I’ve had through good times and bad, highs and lows, from so many people in my life. They are too numerous to list individually, but they will recognize themselves if they were to read these words.
And then there’s you, dear reader. I thank you for your readership, more than I could ever fully express. You gave me journalistic purpose when I didn’t have it professionally. You read my words, day after day and week after week, and that’s not something I take lightly.
I hope to return to posting on a more regular schedule, highlighting and sharing great storytelling and things that are worth your time and attention despite all the other things competing for them. But it will be a lot of trial and error as I readjust to the hum and pace of a daily newsroom, the fatigue that comes from that daily grind, and finding the time to consume the massive amounts of top-notch journalism out there as I try to produce my own.
It’s an exciting prospect for me, and I beg your indulgence as I sort it all out. But as that box of notes reminded me, the love and support of friends, new and old alike, is unparalleled, and I trust you all will see me through.