Santiago Nunez Entertainment Editor
When I first arrived on campus during my scheduled summer orientation, I had no clue what to expect. I had close to zero friends who were going to attend TJC, and I was only here because of
a last second financial decision. The introvert in me wanted to just aimlessly sit alone in random places as I did my work and go home as soon as I could, but I knew I’d regret it if I never at least tried to reach out to new people. I decided to join a student organization. I figured if I had something to make me feel like I was contributing to something bigger than myself, I would get better at socializing due to the sheer necessity of it within an organization. The student organization turned out to be The DrumBeat, one of the only places on campus where an A/V Production nerd from high school could get some hands-on time with cameras, microphones and scripts. After four semesters,
I can say with confidence I got what I was looking for and more.
The nature of journalism often meant I had to talk to people I didn’t know or barely knew and interview them with confidence and assurance. It was honestly a difficult adjustment for me, especially because I had become
even more shy after the COVID-19 lockdowns and mask mandates. I cannot say it was an immediate success; there were some growing pains, having to talk myself up before walking up to someone, learning to not stutter my way through my introduction and having the courage to assert myself into situations. The DrumBeat is meant to help me get experience and accustom me to the fast-paced world
of journalism, but it helped me in more indirect ways. It gave me a place I could identify with, a group of people I could call my friends, the courage to overcome past fears of interaction with strangers, allowed me the opportunity to express my interests through literary merit and it helped me have a constant goal in mind. I still remember the email I sent asking Professor Hampton about the first Friday meeting of the semester and the follow up email explaining how I would not be able to attend it and if there was any way I could still get in, safe to say there was a way.
As for TJC, I am grateful to have been on this campus
for the last two years. I always thought people were exaggerating when they said college is the place one truly finds out who they are and who they want to be, but I could not have been more wrong. Maybe it is just my pensive and introspective nature, but I learned more about myself in the last two years than I had in the last 17. College was truly a place for me to get to know myself because I had to start from scratch. No friends to help me on my homework, no real place to belong to and no idea where to start.
All these new challenges were met by my unrelenting determination and optimism, because if I was going to be here for two years, I was going to make sure it was on my own terms. Self-reflection is still a common theme for me, but the people I met here only strengthened my desire to become a better and kinder person. I hope everyone else who enrolls in Tyler Junior College and/or joins The DrumBeat can have the opportunity to experience the same discovery I did, because I had a blast.
Brooklyn Gundling Editor-In-Chief
When I arrived at TJC two years ago, my time was meant to be temporary. I was running from my past, the city I grew up in and my fears that I was going to be stuck. I thought coming to Tyler, just four hours away from where I grew up, would be a chance to reinvent myself, get some footing on my life and get
a fresh start. TJC felt like the perfect opportunity to start doing all of that, but I wasn’t planning on staying longer than a year. Everything changed the moment I met my roommate.
Almost the complete opposite of me; she was a clean, organized and dedicated person. I thought we would have not a thing in common, and I was actually right. We didn’t watch the same shows, listen to the same music, have the same hobbies or anything. Yet, she and I got along really well. We would have talks about our families, our classes, our love lives and what we wanted our future to look like. She listened to how I felt alone here since I knew exactly zero people and she encouraged me to try to find an organization I liked.
It was with that push that I found The DrumBeat. It was with that push that I managed to find my people. The people I met here have allowed me to try new things, make mistakes but most of all, they have let me live. I discovered here how to set boundaries on my work-life balance, how to talk effectively with people and have seen myself grow into a person. Not a scared or lost person, but a person. A person who tries and fails but gets back up, a person who takes risks and makes mistakes but sometimes flies.
It was with this
group of people that I rediscovered my love of writing. Some read my work and gave me suggestions, while others encouraged
me on the sidelines. But everyone involved in the organization wanted me to be the best version of myself. They pushed me to submit my work to the Bell Tower Arts Journal, and cheered alongside me when I found out I was getting published.
When I wasn’t there to accept my award for Best literary work, another thing I couldn’t even imagine doing two years ago, my teammates made sure everyone knew how grateful I was. It’s been my
team that has given me the opportunity to grow and flourish. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be. And all of that, all that growth and freedom is due to a random email addressed to the wrong person that happened to show up in my inbox. I used to say fate was something only kids believed in, but how could I possibly believe that when it was fate that brought me here? So, thank you TJC for giving me something to believe in, a hope to hold onto and a freedom that is all consuming.