The first time I saw my name in print was an invigorating and life-changing experience. I was a high school freshman and seeing my byline in our student-produced newspaper, The Pitchfork, made me feel like a star.
In my western Tennessee hometown, I was known for two things: running and writing. When my high school's track and cross country coach deployed to Kuwait my senior year, I wrote an emotional profile that made its way into the city paper. I had already decided journalism was my field of choice, but the reaction from readers only solidified my decision. I was meant to do this.
During my time here, I've worked for The Daily Gamecock and Garnet & Black magazine for a brief stint. I also interned at the Columbia Regional Business Report before heading to Washington, D.C., to intern at Campaigns & Elections magazine. It was there I discovered my passion for political writing and reporting.
Now, at 22, that anticipation and excitement I feel when seeing my byline has evolved into a sense of obligation and purpose. A byline means nothing if the product I put out is subpar. Journalism encourages me to be better today than yesterday, and that's a feeling I never want to lose.