Small-town journalist’s career goals deserve support, respect

As graduation draws ever closer, I am getting asked what I want to do after college. I suppose it’s only natural to get a job after you spend so much time and money on a degree. When people used to ask me this question, I would get very defensive. I was not totally sure until just a few weeks ago the kind of path I wanted to follow.

When I grow up, I want to be a small-town journalist. By small town, I mean anywhere but Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio. The larger towns don’t appeal to me the way smaller towns do.

Typically, when I say I want to be a small-town journalist, I get a lot of weird looks or suggestions of it being a bad idea. I’ve been told f lat out, “don’t do it.” When I tell people I study journalism, they get this idea in their head that I should move to New York to write or work for a major daily in Texas.

Just because my dream is centered in a small town does not make my dream small. There are many people in my major moving to Houston or Dallas for jobs or internships with large companies with name recognition. With my degree and experience, I, too, could have similar career path, but I’m not selling myself short by not applying to those jobs. I know I am capable enough to work jobs for big companies, but that just isn’t me.

After living in Nacogdoches for three years, I have come to love the community that can be built in close proximity. The Pine Log, my internship and my church have all fostered great communities for me that I will fondly look back on. While I would love to stay in Nacogdoches for a few more years, I feel like I would be settling for a comfort zone. The best things in our lives happen when we are out of our comfort zones.

There is nothing wrong with staying in a place you know, especially if it is a place you love. I’m sure there are many reasons not to leave one’s hometown or college town, whether it be for financial, family or emotional reasons. I am privileged enough to know many places in Texas and call them home. Nacogdoches has really felt like home, especially as of late.

I think it is kind of sad that I only got to spend three years in this wonderful town. Nacogdoches is so charming to me with its red brick streets, massive, beautiful gardens, pine trees and all the flora that blooms throughout the seasons. I’ve been taking in the campus, gardens and downtown as much as I can before May 18 comes.

Luckily, being an adult means you get to control your life a little more than you used to. I think my time in Nacogdoches is up for now, but maybe one day I can move back to the town that feels like home to me. I will hold on to my big small-town dreams.

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