For the past two-ish years, I have worked at The Pine Log. My byline has been on God knows how many articles, and I’ve sat in some very uncomfortable interviews. The Pine Log has been my feeding tube for the past couple of years. Weird analogy, I know, but I think it kind of describes my experience here.
When I first applied to SFA, I applied as a forestry major. Complete 180, I know, but I thought I loved the forest. Turns out, after one backpacking trip, the forest wasn’t my calling. I turned to my roots of writing and decided that English was my one true calling. Well, after a creative writing class turned sideways, I decided that I wanted to still write, but write news stories, not fiction. I figured journalism would be the best fit, and The Pine Log was the first place I wanted to apply.
When I first interviewed for a writer position, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had only taken one mass communication class, and that was intro to mass comm. My experience with writing news stories came from me googling “how to write a news story” in order to have something to show the editor-in-chief in my interview. I guess she saw something in me that I didn’t, or maybe they were in desperate need of writers, but I was officially a paid writer.
As soon as I got my position, I was going 100 miles per hour. I was constantly writing story ideas in my notes app and I got butterflies before every interview. I felt like I had belonged in a place for the first time in college.
From then on out, I can say that I have learned more than any class could teach me (not to hate on any mass comm classes). The real experience of emailing and calling professors, students or Nacogdoches people for interviews gave me a new kind of confidence. Not only did my confidence go up, but so did my writing. I didn’t have to google how to write a news article because they had me writing one every week.
Somewhere along the way and countless hours in the office, I found my best friends. The writers and editors of The Pine Log, we all think alike. We hear of something and immediately say “story idea.” We spend hours and hours together on Tuesdays working on the paper for Wednesday morning.
We also go to interviews together, or help each other with our class assignments. If one of us is stressed, someone will help out.
There were times when three of us were in the office till one or two in the morning, most of the time just goofing around. This type of friendship is what helped me get through college.
Being a part of something bigger than myself has taught me so much. I have learned how to connect with people, work on a deadline and produce top notch news. To the staff, editors and Rachel and Amy, thank you for taking me in and teaching me the greatest thing I’ve learned, journalism.
If it weren’t for that backpacking trip or that weird creative writing class, I wouldn’t be writing this farewell column. I wouldn’t have found The Pine Log and I wouldn’t have met my best friends. Search for what feels right because eventually you’ll find your calling.