It was a long and frustrating journey, but completely worth it. I came into WTAMU as a transfer student in 2010. I graduated high school in 2007, spent a semester at the University of Texas at Arlington, dropped out to help my family financially for two years and returned to school to finish my degree.
To say I was worried was an understatement. Of course, I was excited to return to school, but I was afraid of how my long absence from academia affected me. What if I forgot everything I learned? What if I didn’t like being a Mass Communication major? What if I wasn’t cut out to be a journalist? Why am I in the panhandle of all places?
With the help of some great professors and colleagues, I was able to come into my own as a professional. I recently had the chance to go to San Francisco as a part of the Online News Association Student Newsroom. I rubbed shoulders with the biggest names in my industry, attained extremely valuable work experience and even got to hang out at Twitter headquarters. I’m not saying this to brag, but I am saying it because these opportunities are available, not just for students in big schools, but also for those here in Canyon, America.
I never thought good things could happen to me. I thought that the “big breaks” only happened to the privileged, or the rich. If I have learned anything at WT – trust me, I have – it’s that hard work will take you places. It sounds so cliché, but if you are passionate about what you do, that passion will translate to an incredible work ethic, which will then lead you to those “big breaks.”
I wouldn’t say college is the best time of my life. I would consider it a blessing for me because not everyone has the privilege to attend and at one point in my life, I thought I would never finish. I can personally say that college has helped shaped me professionally and personally. Fellow WT students, I hope you consider yourselves blessed as well.
I have spent two years working for The Prairie as a reporter, copy editor and assistant editor, and one semester as the EIC. I used to joke with our adviser, Dr. Butler Cain, that he only trusted me with the paper for one semester.
In my time at The Prairie, I have seen it grow from a struggling publication trying to re-capture its former glory to a publication that has great content and a large pool of talented journalists. The final product has made all of those moments of frustration and threats of flipping tables worth it. I won’t say that it’s because of me because it has really taken the work of past and current staffers to make The Prairie what it is today.
I want to say thank you to everyone (past and present) at The Prairie and at the Wesley Foundation, the campus ministry in which I’ve been heavily involved in since day one of my WT journey. You all have been instrumental in shaping me as a person and words cannot express how grateful I am for you all being in my life.
I also want to say a special thank you to Dr. Butler Cain (or Uncle Butler), for being a valuable mentor of mine. Thanks for listening to me whine about editor problems, life problems and everything in between.
Of course, I would like to thank the family as well. Thanks for being my long-distance cheerleaders. I will return to civilization (Dallas) for a short time before I move to Washington, D.C. for an internship with National Public Radio (NPR).
Finally, I would like to give all the glory to God – yes, I said it – for everything up to this point and everything in my future.
Effective immediately, Ashley Hendrick will be taking over as the new Editor-in-Chief of The Prairie. I have no doubt The Prairie will be taken to new heights and Ashley will curb-stomp any accomplishments I have contributed to the paper.
Stay classy, WT!