Elevator insights

This past week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the College Media National Fall Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

From learning how to cover music festivals to finding out how to “breathe life” into captions, to keynote sessions on the Orlando nightclub shooting and the Black Lives Matter movement, the conference was everything I could have ever wanted as a journalist.

But that’s the thing, before I went to this conference I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision in my career path.

Nothing I did with my major seemed to click. I watched all of my friends plan out their 4-year plans, I would sit back and question if journalism was a step in the right direction.

I would drift with ideas and never found one that felt right.

Until I attended a workshop on how to fake it ‘til you make it, with a radio journalist who openly admitted to hating journalism during parts of his career.

Although I’ve never hated journalism, I haven’t loved every aspect of it that I’ve experienced over the past few years.

After asking the speaker multiple questions, I asked him, “What kept you coming back to journalism as a career?”

“I never saw myself doing anything else,” he said.

Shortly after that, I left the conference room, made my way to the elevator and hit the tenth floor button.

And as I stared at all the people in the Hyatt Regency Hotel walking around through the glass walls of the elevator, I realized I wanted to know their stories and why they were there.

In that 10-second elevator ride, I knew that I enjoyed journalism for a reason.

By the time I reached the door to hotel room 1011, I realized that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

I never thought that my worries about my career would be answered in a 10-second glass elevator ride in Atlanta, but they were.

I always had this idea that journalism is sitting behind a computer and occasionally going out to cover events, but I’ve been going about it all wrong.

Journalism is going out in Atlanta and photographing the city and hearing about people’s stories.

Journalism is wanting to tell people’s stories.

Journalism is what I want to make it.

This workshop and conference helped me prove to myself that photojournalism is what I want to pursue.

Sometimes answers to our problems come in all different places, we just have to go out and experience new things.

My guard was finally down about worrying if I was making a mistake in my career and like a sponge I soaked up everything the speakers were saying.

If you’re like me — a sophomore who struggles with making a commitment to a major — go to a conference with your organization if you’re in one, go to a speech, go to something you wouldn’t normally go to and instead of worrying about that pesky commitment, immerse yourself in everything that person in front of you has to say.

Embrace it and ask them those pressing questions that you’ve been dying to ask someone in your profession. Because I guarantee you that one question can be life changing.

Whether that’s going to a conference, attending a keynote session, or going to a special event on campus, sometimes life answers us in the craziest ways.

Mine just happened to be in an elevator.