March 24, 2023

When I was deciding to apply to California Baptist University and declare journalism and new media as a major, I thought about the negative connotations of going to a small, private campus and choosing a major in which the career path isn’t certain or necessarily pays well.

I was encouraged by my high school English teacher who, to this day, I owe my decision of following my passions. She read “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and it gave me the confidence to “take the one less traveled by.”

Here I am, four years and 25 issues later, my time at The Banner has come to an end. I’ve written numerous stories and opinions, but I’ve never struggled so hard to write an opinion like I did this one.

It feels like I’ve been a part of this program longer and it’s because I wish I had. Without applying to be on publications and without The Banner, I wouldn’t feel prepared for anything that might come next both in my professional and personal life.

This program has impacted my life so much so that I feel compelled to tell others how important it is to get involved and stay committed to your major and experiences.

I,obviously, wouldn’t have a portfolio or the writing skills I do now, but the most important things being a part of The Banner taught me were how to apply myself, surround myself with the right people, work through the chaos and see the good through everything.

Throughout my time, I’ve learned the importance of being productive and efficient. I have gained a group of people who are supportive of my pursuits and so intelligent and talented that it’s inspiring.

You may not know this, but producing issues one through 12 required little sleep, a lot of coffee, planning, some improvising and the “Have a Great Day” Spotify playlist to keep morale high.

Even if stories fell through, if sources didn’t respond, or if printing on time looked unlikely, the staff persisted. Because of this staff, I’ve learned how to navigate through trials and to always take time to look around.

This staff has humbled and taught me more than I expected and to them I am grateful for the laughs that broke the silence of stress, trusting me to lead them and allowing me to be a part of their lives outside of the workplace.

There were times where I thought I’d spend every other Tuesday morning watching the sunrise through the frosted windows of the James Building basement (the newsroom) and two weeks away from graduation and publishing my last issue of The Banner, I wish I had more time to do so.

There are great things that come from getting involved and staying dedicated to your passions, your major and the people around you. Programs and college are what you make it.

You’re never “too young” to get involved and the only time when it’s “too late” is after you graduate. I encourage you to “take the one less traveled by.” Keep walking into the unknown and stay dedicated.

It made all the difference for me and I can promise you, you’ll love where it leads you, as well.

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