The DrumBeat has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in recent years. I started off as a photographer in fall 2019. That didn’t last long, and due to academic complications, I had to leave The DrumBeat for a while. Fast forward to fall 2021, and I was finally in a position where I could participate again. This time I chose to work for the broadcast, which was more in line with what I wanted to do with my life.
After demonstrating my directing skills during anchor tryouts, I was selected to be the Technical Director. The broadcast side had been hit hard by COVID-19, with only two students working the semester before and neither of them returning. The recently appointed News Director and I got to work rebuilding the broadcast. While the News Director focused on organizing the reporters and making the show, I oversaw the live production, including directing the news anchors and tech crew. One semester later, and our award-winning broadcast is doing better than ever before.
One semester later, I assumed the News Director role on top of my Tech Director one. If my time with The DrumBeat has taught me anything, it has taught me leadership and group skills. It has made me get out of my comfort zone to write stories, get interviews and lead a team. I’m truly grateful for the friends and memories I’ve made here, and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for me.
When I first came to Tyler Junior College, it was during the sad circumstances of COVID-19. For me this meant I missed out on going to my dream college to stay close to home. When officially enrolling as an TJC Apache, I was a lost 18-year-old with no clue about “real world life.” My first day at TJC, I was a nervous wreck with the worst case of butterflies in my stomach. As I leave, I know I have exciting opportunities ahead of me, such as a job in my career field, but I also know that the times I have had here will become memories in my rear-view mirror. With this being my last semester here, I would like to reflect on the things I learned within the brick walls of Jenkins Hall.
No. 1: Career.
It’s OK to not know exactly what you want to pursue as a career. I changed my mind numerous times my first semester between dental hygiene, mass communication and forensics. Going into college was a scary experience and taking various classes truly helped me decipher what my true passion was and what I held in my strong suits.
No. 2: Studying.
Studying is a horrible thing, trust me we all think that. But taking 15 to 20 minutes of your time to focus is a game changer. My first semester, I never studied and that soon reflected on my grades. Finding little tips and study tricks really saved me. Sadly enough, taking time away from my friends benefited me in the long run.
No. 3: Join an organization.
I had no friends at first at TJC. I felt like a small fish in a school of fishes. Joining an organization helped me find a group of friends who really opened my mind to think outside of my beliefs. It gave me friends with the same hobbies as mine while gaining experience in my future job field. It truly made learning fun.
No. 4: It’s OK to not know everything!
I think that was a hard concept for me to grasp. For me, I like to know all and be all. So sit back and think, you’re going to college to learn, and you need to just do that.
I’m thankful for my time spent at TJC. I’m beyond thankful for my professors as they have given me new strengths and helped me push through my weaknesses.
In life the best quality to have is adaptability. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens.” Despite how overly optimistic this quote may seem, the meaning behind it stands true when faced with surprising life outcomes.
I originally graduated from Tyler Junior College in fall 2021. All of my plans had been set in stone for transferring, and as an overachiever, I pretty much had everything done that I needed. I had already mentally prepared myself to say goodbye to my friends. I had met with my adviser for my new college; I was ready to leave TJC.
Unfortunately despite my readiness, a blunder was made and I was unable to transfer. Even though I thought my world was crashing internally, I was actually faced with the task of staying optimistic while searching for “my new door.”
Throughout the spring 2022 semester, I learned the importance of adaptability. By being adaptable one must view obstacles as opportunities. Life is full of nothing but challenges however the decision to grow from these can be the hardest.
By staying at TJC for the spring semester, I was able to take additional classes that now transfer toward my bachelor’s degree. After looking at my spring 2022 term detail, at TJC I paid an estimated total of $1,598 to take three classes for my spring semester. If I would have transferred I would have attended the University of Texas at Tyler full time, which is considered three classes, and I would have been paying an estimated total of $12,595 for tuition, fees, books and supplies, according to collegeforalltexans.com.
As a student coming from a low-income family, pricing of college played a large factor in my decision. I was unaware TJC offered additional classes that would transfer to UT Tyler, and in the end, I saved a significant amount that could have potentially affected my future. If I were aware of this savings opportunity, I would have planned to take additional classes much sooner.
In addition to saving money, I was able to attend my first Texas Intercollegiate Press Association competition where I won five awards for my work with The DrumBeat Student Media. During this trip, I was given the opportunity to meet various successful people within my industry and make a name for myself. This trip was also a perfect opportunity to bond with the individuals in my organization and create lifelong friendships.
The last door that was opened by staying at TJC was my overall growth in leadership. I served an additional semester as Editor-in-Chief of The DrumBeat Student Media, and with that, I have grown in many ways. I have learned to be patient, compassionate and understanding. I faced battles that tested my morality and strengthened my passion to make a change within the world. I also gained experience in technical aspects such as leadership expectations, producing breaking news and growing my skills in many software programs.
Overall, when faced with closing doors look to ones that are opening in their place.
With that being said, it is safe to say my time at TJC is officially ending, and as I look back at this semester, I now know staying provided me with experiences I was not expecting.
I keep thinking about the last time I’m ever going to walk through the doors of the newsroom, see the desk of the studio and the faces of the people I’ve worked with for over a year and I can safely say I am not ready for it.
My time at The DrumBeat has seen all kinds of moments. For nearly two years, I’ve experienced many stress-filled weeks and production nights, but many joyful experiences of freely expressing my creativity. There have been plenty of faces that have come and gone, but also some that have stuck around since the very beginning.
But the most important kinds of moments are the ones that helped me realize what I want to do for the rest of my life, and the memories with friends I will always cherish.
Even though I’m moving on to new things, and potentially better opportunities, I still feel the anxious butterflies in my chest when I have to think about starting fresh with a new group of people in a new environment. It’s almost like I don’t want to.
The friends I’ve made through this organization are the ones I hold the utmost respect for. I’ve worked with some of the smartest, most determined and creative people I have ever met.
I’ve worked with two completely different sets of staff. Both in which I hold the highest degree.
My first year, I was just getting my feet wet, and I really didn’t know what I was doing. Not only did I not know a lot of people, but I also didn’t know the potential I had within myself. My advisers and other staff members pushed me to do more than only photography and get into the world of writing, which I was very afraid of. They helped me become more comfortable on the team and prepared me for the road ahead.
This year, the majority of the staff had graduated or left, and me along with a few others were left to continue what they had been building. I quit marching band to put all my energy into my new positions, and put all my creative force into helping make something I knew I could be proud of.
I was graciously allowed to put my spin on the newspaper’s design, and the process was so rewarding. I finally realized visual journalism was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I started writing more, and learned how to be a better journalist and designer. And now as the pages of this chapter of my collegiate career come to a close, I can only describe how I feel in one word: Gracious.
I’m so gracious to the advisers who constantly pushed me to be the best I can be. They saw the potential in me and helped get to where I am now. They take pride in making sure their students are ready for the real world by the time they walk out the door. They are my mentors and I cannot be more thankful for how they have helped me in my life and start my career.
I’m thankful for the ones who were there from the very beginning. They were the ones who served as an example of how one should professionally carry themselves, while being able to relax and have fun when they can. They showed me the ins and outs of the journalistic world and how fun it can be. Their legacy shouldn’t go unnoticed, and I hope they’re proud of the work we’ve done.
I’m thankful for the new ones who joined after the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Those are the people who make coming into the newsroom/studio every day such an amazing experience, and the same ones I’ve shared many incredible memories with. They work so hard and have inspiringly propelled this organization to another level. Those people are the ones who make it so hard to leave.
I hope to keep in touch with everyone after I’m gone along with the ones who’ve already left. I hope one day I can see their names on local/national television, or read their names in articles from big publications. Most importantly, I just want to see them succeed in whatever endeavor they’re pursuing.
As for myself, I only feel comfort knowing what I want to do with my life. I hope to succeed in my field enough to where I can live comfortably and put food on the table, but I also want to enjoy working as much as I have enjoyed it here. This has been an experience unlike any other, and if I can achieve even an inkling of the joy I’ve felt being a part of this organization, then I know I’ll be in a good place.