The Thrill of the Chase

The University of Missouri’s Journalism school (a.k.a. the J School, the World’s Journalism School, etc.) is well-known for attracting out-of-state students (like myself) not only for its renowned classroom experience, but for the opportunity of immersive experience in the journalism field.

I mentioned in my last post about how I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to write for the student-produced paper of Mizzou, The Maneater, covering the men’s and women’s golf teams. This is a great opportunity, and I’m humbled to have the opportunity to gain experience so quickly.

One thing that people outside of the journalism world know about writing on a paper is deadlines. I got one two days before my freshman year started- produce a feature story by August 29.

When I looked at the calendar, that time frame was a bit daunting initially. Monday the 22nd rolled around, and I had nothing yet. I began poking around and searching for any material on the internet that could suffice as concrete details for my feature story.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t go too far with that would-have-been disaster.

I woke up Tuesday, went to my 8:00 am class, and decided to use the time between my classes (a solid 6.5 hours) to get my every-other-day workout in. Fortunately, I had thought earlier to set my phone to receive notifications when @MizzouMensGolf sends out a Tweet on Twitter. They did this morning, and the Tweet consisted of the following GIF and captioned: “First day of official practice got us like:”

riding the bull

“First day of practice, I thought. This is my chance.” I hurried through the rest of my workout and scurried to my car to jump on this opportunity. I got over to Gustin course- which was very close to my dorm- not knowing what I would find. As I asked a nice gentleman in the pro shop for a practice schedule, he informed me that the Mizzou team does not play at Gustin course.

Welp. Showing my inexperience I guess.

I thanked him for his time and hurried across town to where the team actually did play- The Old Course at Hawthorne. Not knowing what to expect, I pulled up to the Mizzou Golf Building and saw an open door.

There was assistant coach Grant Milner, whom I introduced myself to and was kind enough to invite me into his office to print out a schedule of the team’s practices. He even went as far as setting me up with an interview for my story with two of the stars of Mizzou golf- brothers Will and Matt Echelmier.

The guys were genuinely kind people, and we made casual conversation as we started the interview. As I listened to their responses, I began to process how funnily the events of the day had worked out- and how well my article was coming together.

We concluded the interview, Coach Milner walked me out and offered me his phone number and really put me in a good position to cover the team this year as I left the club. Bar none, my first experience with Mizzou Golf was top-notch.

As I returned to my dorm, it occurred to men just how arbitrary the day was- I only knew about the practice because of Twitter, I got there just on time because of a detour, I got in because a door was open, and I got the material necessary to write my article because the players were waiting out a rain storm. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention- it was raining during all this. The thrill of the chase of my first college player interviews was almost blinding.

God just had a great plan for this day, and I’m glad I lived for the moment, prayed and thought my plan before acting, and he showed me the rewards. It just goes to show that his plan is always worth trusting.

But the best part- this day’s not even over. And the even better part? It’s only day 2 of my freshman year.

The undermining and somewhat coincidental detail of it all is my first Journalism class ever doesn’t even get going for another 3o minutes. Can’t wait to get there.

I’ll be sure to link to my story once it’s up on the Maneater.

 

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Thinking out Loud: ‘Twas the night before Freshman year

OK so it’s day five since I moved in at the University of Missouri. So far, I’ve been to MizzouRec (our state-of-the-art student recreation facility) five separate occasions. I love the workout equipment, top-notch basketball courts, and the resort-like swimming accommodations. I’ve played FIFA on XBOX with some sophomores from the third floor, I’ve bummed around with some new friends, and tried three different dining halls.

My biggest initial observation- it’s all gone by SO FAST.

These five days have been some of the fastest of my life. I’m watching the NASCAR race in my dorm right now, and I feel like 5 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway equates to how I’ve perceived each day since I arrived on campus.

So if these five days the university allots us to settle into campus before class starts went by this fast, I know Freshman year is gonna go fast. That being said, I decided to set some goals to keep myself on course amidst this time vortex. I actually watched a video today that talked about how writing your goals down keeps yourself more accountable for your goals and dreams, and I hope this will do so.

  1. Stay close to my faith. This is the most imperative. While most of my peers will dedicate their lives to Alcohol and Sex throughout this time period, I must firstly dedicate myself to my faith. I firmly believe that I can have a great college experience while keeping God first. I pray each and every day for the strength and determination daily to firstly impact others’ lives who might not know Christ, and secondly, make great grades and gather knowledge necessary to fuel my passion.
  2. Make top-tier grades. This one is not a choice. I cannot let my grades slip. First off, that won’t cut it with my family, who was kind enough to help me with college financially. I owe it to them to obtain my degree with flying colors. I must prioritize my academics. Beyond upholding my promise to my family, I also have to make at least a 3.0 GPA to continue in the prestigious school of Journalism. I firmly believe and will dedicate myself to achieving this goal.
  3. Gain valuable experience. I’m humbled to say this year I received the opportunity to cover the University of Missouri men and women’s golf team for the Maneater newspaper. After my faith and classwork, I’m excited to dedicate myself to producing outstanding content for the paper, in addition to helping out at the KCOU radio station on campus to gain valuable experience. I pray that I will dedicate myself to this as well as my studies.
  4. Improve to peak physical condition. This is a new pursuit of mine. This morning, I decide to don my University of Missouri sleeveless basketball uniform to wear at MizzouRec. I played a quick game of pickup basketball, and began my workout. It wasn’t until I lifted some weight in front of a mirror that I realized just how frail I looked. I’ve always been really skinny, but right now I sit at 19.5 BMI- just 1.0 more than being underweight. but my goal now that I have regular access to a gym is to gain muscle. There’s no hiding my inexperience, but I want to gain experience in a safe way that builds muscle. After my faith, studies, and commitment to the paper, I will spend time crafting my body to peak physical condition. It’s hard to explain what I view peak physical condition, but I’ll know it when I get there.
  5. Make new friends, try new things, uphold Mizzou traditions. Making new friends has been a weird experience so far. I get along with my roommate, and I have several friends I made at Summer Welcome (our school’s orientation) that I’ve kept in contact with so far. However, beyond that, it’s just been a few quick introductions, a few ‘where you from’s,’ and not much else. I read in the Maneater Friday how a writer felt a similar feeling, and I pray that God would lead me to a group of friends that either, A) Knows God and have similar beliefs, or B) friends I can lead to God. I also want to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I’m willing to try new activities, go out of my way to say hello to my classmates, and be outgoing about making new friends. I had a friend of mine a year older than me who offered the advice to A) spend as little time in my dorm as possible and B) go up to people (because they’re likely in the same boat as you) and introduce myself. I am excited to do so. I have faith in his plan that I will make great friends, and I will be patient as I trust the process.

As I sit in my dorm ready to undergo the symbolic transformation of outsider to entrance into the University, Tiger Walk- where the freshman run past the columns, I am excited for these coming years. I want to make them as great as possible, but it all starts with step one- Freshman year, and the main goal of this post was to hold myself accountable.