Sometimes we forget just how far we’ve come.
It was a snowy day in early December 2007 when I got on the bus to head to Red River College for my entrance exam. At the time I remember thinking: girl, you got nothing to lose – if it doesn’t work out, you’re still on your square.
Well I took the exam, did the interview and made it out alive. During the time between, I completed a number of university courses, met incredible people, went diving with sharks, and took a free helicopter ride with an amateur pilot just to see the view from above Table Mountain. I performed aerial dance and competed across the province and internationally – doing things I never imagined for myself.
And yet, we still have times of doubt. Saying that things aren’t good, or that some of our dreams will for sure have to wait.
This past Friday I met Dawna Friesen, Global National anchor and CreComm graduate. Her story is a remarkable one, and she has built herself an accomplished career doing what she wanted – and loved. One of my journalism friends started tearing up when Dawna told us “just go for it – go for your dreams.”
The tears? Because my friend realized that’s where we are right now. There’s never been a better time for us to reach for our most ambitious goals than right now – in our prime, with a blank canvas in front of us. Dawna wasn’t handed a dream job, nor had she planned to live in 13 places over the course of five months.
And yet we worry about completing our broadcast journalism assignment.
What I’ve come to know about getting where you want to be (in a really brief period), is talking will only get you so far. It’s about doing. Last week, each one of us journalism majors talked about this to the first years. That a portfolio only takes shape when you’re active, willing – and in many ways, yearning. The dream job of a national anchor won’t just fall into the lap of someone who thinks it would be “a cool job.”
Another thing I’ve learned from seeing people who inspire me in the industry is their sense of humility. Dawna, who is accomplished and experienced in the way only time provides, was more than happy to speak with us, take pictures with us – be honest with us.“Take whatever comes your way, if it doesn’t work out – try again,” she said.
I strongly believe that those who think the world of themselves – and less of others – are really missing out. Being a remarkable journalist is not about being better, it’s about being skilled at sharing. Sharing stories and experiences with their community. I just don’t think you can be full of yourself and do a good job expressing sincerity and honesty.
Dawna told me about a story she did in London, about a boy who released a balloon that ended up in the Queen’s courtyard. While at first she didn’t see the real pull in it, she told me it was the story she received the most responses from viewers for, saying: “Just find the heart in your story.”
I think that’s why I love being a journalist. So much of what we do is working with what’s there – and taking risks. Turning an ordinary story into something valuable to those who hear and see it.
And we do have to be confident. We’re doing things that constantly puts us out there in public, and while you don’t want go overboard – a healthy dose of confidence is necessary. Remember: you can do it – just go for it.
So as I take time to send out my resumes and make decisions about where I’m going, I have to stop doubting myself. Dawna didn’t come out of CreComm knowing everything, and she wasn’t guaranteed anything. So to all my fellow journalism students, we can do this. After all, we survived CreComm…