When it comes to graduation season, there are plenty of mixed emotions amongst each incredibly diverse graduating class, whether they be middle schooler, high schoolers, or college graduates like myself. Most are excited to move on and find out what their next chapters in life may bring, while others have the feelings of uncertainty for what is to come.
In my case, it is a bit of both. I am someone who grew up in the nearby town of Livingston, but Turlock has quickly become a second home for me. After graduating from Livingston High School in 2018, I was fortunate to have been faced with a variety of options when it came to where I wanted to continue my higher education. It was always a goal of mine to leave the area and explore different cities across the United States, but I came to the hard decision that I would put these extravagant goals on hold.
Instead, after long nights contemplating and hearing input from my family, I decided to stay home and attend Stanislaus State. Not only did I think that attending school only 15 minutes away from home would greatly assist me financially, but it was a unique opportunity to receive an industry-tailored education and gain career experience.
I have always had a great interest in mass media, particularly with sports media. For as long as I can remember, I have been infatuated with the constant flow of information and content being created. This was on full display beginning in middle school, when me and my friends would wrap up basketball or baseball practice. When we all got home, most of my buddies would immediately hop onto their favorite video game consoles. Meanwhile, I would either hop in front of a TV to watch the entire afternoon slate of sporting events, and if there weren’t games on, I would put my earbuds in and listen to sports podcasts for hours on end. And remember, this is around 2012, a time in which many people had no clue what a podcast even was!
By the time I was in high school, I had to face the tough reality that my dream of playing professional sports would not come true, so I asked myself how I could remain involved in sports. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to work in sports media to some capacity, although I wasn’t entirely sure in what capacity. I ended up majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Journalism at Stan State. I felt that keeping things broad with the Comm Studies major could help me figure out role which role and I can play in the mass media industry.
During my sophomore year, I decided to dive into a more traditional experience of media, which was journalism. I joined the school newspaper, the Signal, with a strict goal of covering campus athletics. Well, my plans quickly took a turn.
At the Signal, I experienced the reality check that my editors and advisor had the ability to give me story assignments. While I wanted to cover sports, I found myself covering meetings, campus policy and university events. In a sense, I was teaching myself to become accustomed to these environments on the fly. After only my third month on the team, it was a special feeling to know that I was trusted to become an editor. I would report for the Signal for the remainder of my collegiate career, a span of nearly three years, covering literally everything: breaking news, campus policy, community events, entertainment and more.
During my time at the campus news outlet, I was also given an opportunity to write for the Stan State Office of Communications and Public Affairs, writing stories to be posted on the official campus website. The Public Affairs team were also able to give me an up-close look of what it is like to work in public relations. And the experience didn’t stop there, as I was even tasked with hosting an official campus podcast at the student radio station, KCSS 91.9 FM.
Putting everything into words really blows my mind, and I ask myself where else could I have gone to school and been able to do all this? The accessibility to these resources and the freedom to be creative gave me experiences that some people can only dream of having, and I had it all. It is for these reasons that I am incredibly grateful that the learned skills at Stan State landed me a job at the Journal, three months before I completed my undergraduate studies.
At the Journal, I am now covering business, education and sports. I have already met some amazing Turlock residents from all walks of life, and I am appreciative that they have all welcomed me with open arms. I look forward to continue to interact with all of the incredible people this town and region are made up of, telling all your stories and amplifying all of your voices in the process.