Summer 2010: Week One Reflections…

After completing four years of college, I now wonder what things would have looked like had I chosen a different major. Near the end of winter term, something stirred inside of me to start making videos like I did back in high school. And so the first thing I purchased at the beginning of spring term, even before my course books, was a video camera, a tripod and a memory card. My first project was relatively easy; I recorded the first day of Habitat for Humanity’s 1000th home being built and made a little video to get more people interested and involved with the construction. And though it only took me a couple hours, I loved editing the video. Just recently I’ve made a couple more and since I’ve completed them, I’ve been thinking about my future and what I want to do.

For the first session of summer term, I’m taking two journalism classes (J100 and J201). They’re very basic and mostly inform you about journalism on a rather surface-level basis. The things we’ve discussed are maybe a step above high school journalism, I’d think. I can’t really tell you from experience because, oddly enough, I never took any journalism classes in high school. But I have to believe that anyone who has spent a year in high school journalism would have a really good idea of the things we’ve discussed this week. The various forms of journalism (newspapers, TV, magazines, radio, internet, etc.) have been running through my mind and making me wonder why I chose English as my major instead of journalism. I’d have to think that back then, I was interested in different things than I am now. Back then I was really interested in literature and the power of metaphors. To some extent, I still am. But now it’s not so much about learning as it is about doing something with what I’ve learned.

Today in class we barely touched on the ever famous question, “What is truth?” It was more of a sideline item than a central point of discussion. We were talking about the mass production of books and how just on one subject alone there could be countless interpretations. And along with the mixed interpretations of one subject makes one wonder, “What is really true? Is what I’m reading from this author factually based or is it dependent upon his/her biases?” Discussions like these are fascinating to me. It was discussions like these that drew me towards the rather heated discussion of inerrancy and the Bible and Christianity. Depending on who you talk to – even if you only talk to Christians – you could come away with several interpretations of the same data. And as I’ve been learning this week, one central question to every serious journalist is, “What is actually true?”

As I embark on my fifth year of college, I’m forced to think about what I want to do with my English degree. Do I want to start grad school, law school, or just get a job? I’ve prayed about it a lot and talked it over with my pastors several times and at this point, I’m not entirely certain. It might seem as though I was 100% for pursuing law school and becoming a lawyer, but the truth is that I wasn’t really. The idea of law school has carried just as much weight as the idea of grad school or becoming an author. And honestly, I can’t really make any concrete decisions about law school until I get my LSAT score on this coming Monday. One of the major elements leading me towards law school, though, was the fact that I like to argue. Lawyers make a living off of arguing and it’s a very appealing career path for me. But then I realized something: anyone can argue about anything; it doesn’t depend on what your degree or job is. If you’re passionate enough about getting a message out there, telling someone’s story, making sure justice gets served; you’ll find a way to not only argue your case, but make sure your case gets heard.

The field of journalism has many facets through which practically anyone could argue. How? Because the backbone of journalism is the first amendment: the right to speak freely. That means anyone and everyone has a voice in this country, no matter how big or small, quiet or loud. It doesn’t take a law degree, a Bachelor’s, or even a high school diploma to speak your mind. Of course this realization makes me wonder why I even bothered coming to college in the first place, but honestly, I would not have discovered my true passion for writing had I not come to college. And being at one of the nation’s best schools for journalism (and certainly one of the oldest schools of journalism) I have to wonder why I’m really here.

I love making videos and telling stories, both of which are major elements in the field of journalism. This doesn’t mean that I’m absolutely certain about what I want to do with my life, but I feel like something is becoming more refined. The thought of law school highlighted my interest in argumentation and the English degree taught me the history of people who used their written words to argue and change the world. Some wrote simple essays while others took figurative approaches (consider Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”). But no matter what they wrote or how they wrote it, they wrote for a cause. Just imagine what this world would look like without Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

Several months ago I wrote a blog about my rising interest in law school and before that I’ve written things about how much I want to write a book. Looking back over the things I’ve written and what I’m writing now, I feel like I’m having an identity crisis. But then I realize something; a lot of people don’t know what they want to do right away. Even the ones who have jobs right now and are technically starting their careers may have doubts and confusions about what they’re doing and how it lines up to what they want to do. I only say this to keep myself from freaking out. The worst thing we can do is worry about what tomorrow will bring or what a year from now will bring. “Seek first the kingdom of God,” Jesus says, “And all these will be added to you,” (Matthew 6:33). So instead of thinking of all these differing ideas as the consequence of an identity crisis, I think it’s better to think of them as stages in following God.

The first stage was eliminating what I thought was my calling: golf. The second stage was to replace that attractive and ridiculous idea with something more tangible, something rooted deeper within my heart and within reality: literature. Within the last three years of my college life, I’ve read dozens of books and have written dozens of papers all not because my major is English, but because I love to read and write, which is what led me to the English major. The third stage came when a professor suggested law school because of its necessity for literary criticism, which opened my eyes to just how much I like to argue. And now I feel like the next stage is figuring out what to do with this desire to read, write and edit stories, record and edit videos, and finally, to argue. This chapter of my life has been and will continue to be confusing while I’m going through it. But I think in the end of it all, as long as I trust and pursue God throughout the process, I’ll be where I’m supposed to.


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“Do not mistake me for a conjuror of cheap tricks.”

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