Hashtag J-school probs

It was my first year at Nassau Community College–fresh out of high school. I was a motivated student, determined to make the most out of my college career as soon as possible. When I saw a sign for the Student Activities Fair, I jumped at the opportunity.

I scanned the list of clubs that’d be attending and circled the ones that interested me and matched my hobbies. My issue was that I’d circled too many and had to narrow it down (to at least five) to be able to hit them all. I wandered from the Philosophy Club table to the creative writing magazine before stumbling upon the table for the Vignette. The Vignette is NCC’s biweekly print paper, and little did I know I was going to find my niche, meet lifelong friends (Janelle and Diana), and have the time of my life  experiencing opportunities I never even imagined.

Being part of the school paper allowed me to fulfill all of my interests: writing articles, taking photographs, and publishing poetry. I tried my hand at copy editing and discovered a newfound love for it (though grammar has always been a talent of mine–something that is instinctual for me). I was (and still am) passionate about such issues as environmental science/sustainabilities, feminism, and social justice issues in general.

I worked as the Photo Editor for the Vignette for at least two semesters, during which I was the only photographer covering most events.

The members of the Vignette and I went on two trips to the College Media Association convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Times Square. We also went on a trip to the Newseum in Washington D.C. These trips were unforgettable. At one of the conventions, I had the chance to visit the offices of Rolling Stone for a tour–an exciting adventure for a 19-year-old.

This led me to the Stony Brook School of Journalism. My NCC career was ending quickly because I took winter and summer classes–I didn’t have a break for two years (which was fine with me because the classes were fun and I loved my classmates and professors).

My best friend, Mai Fahmy, who has been attending Stony Brook University since 2011, told me that there was a new school of journalism open. I disregarded this, because, at the time, I thought I didn’t want to go into journalism. Eventually, I applied anyway, not expecting much, since I was rejected from Stony Brook when I was in high school. But, to my surprise, I was accepted.

I decided to pursue journalism because I recognized that I can use my voice for the things I was passionate about–things that needed more of a voice. Journalists have power. My career has shifted, though, with my time at Stony Brook, from producing content to editing content. I’ve also taken more of a multimedia focus since I started here at Stony Brook.

I’m beyond grateful to have access to the latest, state-of-the-art technology that this J-school provides. In addition, the Professional Friday trips introduce once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see famous publications up close and even network with important people.

I was born with a relentless, unforgiving sense of curiosity. I’ve always had the desire to peek behind “Employees Only” doors, even if it meant being kicked out of a store. I love being behind the scenes. And I always challenged authorities. Because what could I lose? What could I gain? Respect. Knowledge. I came to a self-proclaimed revelation a few years ago: question everything. Had I not been asking questions constantly, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m always hungry to learn. My family and friends know me as a person who is obsessed with the truth, no matter how brutal it is.

I live by the words, “It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.” Even by the wise words of Tina Fey, “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” Always says yes. You never know who you’re going to meet or what you’re going to learn.

It’s also about loving the art of writing. I’m a huge fan of literature–classics such as Hemingway, who was actually a journalist himself. Thoreau, Whitman, Cummings, are some of my favorites. But I also wish to integrate creativity into article writing as much as possible, since poetry is my favorite thing in the world. Though objective article-writing is the total opposite of figurative language that is rich with imagery and metaphors, both are like painting pictures using words. In “How to Write with Style,” Kurt Vonnegut said it perfectly. Writers should “put together a sentence as intricate and glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra.”

So now I’m here, persevering through this sometimes hellish, sometimes wonderful journey at the Stony Brook J-school, all the while tweeting things with a hashtag of #jschoolprobs.


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