Looking back and moving forward

Looking+back+and+moving+forward

Nicole Lopez, Contributor

I believe receiving a college education is key when it comes to manifesting your passions. With higher education, you have the freedom to choose your own path and master your professional goals. I always knew this, but now, as a graduate-to-be, there is nothing truer than the gift of education and all the opportunities it comes with.

From a young age, language arts was my strongest and favorite subject. I always found myself lost in a book. There was always something about the art of writing that intrigued me. My interests only grew with every passing year.

Like others, I had a difficult time finding what I wanted to do after graduation. Ever since the eighth grade, I was under an immense pressure to determine what it was that I wanted to study once I got to college.

I happened to take a journalism class by chance when I was a junior in high school. I needed to fill a course on my schedule, so I agreed. Little did I know that I would end up enjoying it so much that it would become my desired career path.

When I enrolled at UTEP, I was beyond excited to start my career, to receive the experience I always wanted as a writer and journalist in the making. I got my first real taste of the journalism field when I reported on the Women’s Conference that was held at UTEP during the spring 2019 semester. At the time, I couldn’t have been more confident journalism would be my life.

Stubborn and determined to find experience as a young journalist, I spent the summer of 2019 visiting news stations and newspapers, demanding they let me speak with an editor about an internship position. After going from one organization to another, KVIA ABC-7 News was gracious enough to take me in. I never thought I would want to pursue a job at a TV station, but when I shadowed producers at KVIA, I learned it could be a potential career.

While I interned at KVIA, I also worked as a content writer for AGI Marketing, a local digital marketing company in El Paso. Although balancing both was tough, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of gaining experience.

Now, I’ve had the honor to contribute at The Prospector while working as an intern with El Paso Matters. From covering education to arts and entertainment, I feel confident I can go out in the world prepared.

Now, graduation is quickly approaching, something I never thought would fly by so quickly, but it did and I am thankful, nonetheless.

I am thankful for the communication department at UTEP. Professor Eraldo Chiecchi, one of my favorite communication professors, always asked his students, “If you don’t have an internship or aren’t looking for one, what’s your plan?”

Chiecchi and other communication professors never hesitated to give their students the push they needed to build on their journalism careers.

I would also like to thank Bob Moore, CEO for El Paso Matters, for allowing me to contribute to his media organization as an intern. He has allowed me the freedom to report on topics and issues throughout the borderland. I have learned so much from Bob and the team at El Paso Matters.

I thank the team at The Prospector for allowing me to work with them. I am forever grateful Editor-in-Chief, Anahy Diaz, and assistant director for Student Media and Publications, Tracy Roy, were able to fit me in for my last spring semester at UTEP as a contributor. Early in the semester, I spoke with Tracy about my goals and how I want to challenge myself as a journalist. Since then, I have worked on a variety of stories, including audio and video packages. I know that as a journalist, I will never stop learning and there is no limit when it comes to growing professional and enhancing my skills.

I used to be the kind of person who was comfortable in one place. I am grateful to say that is no longer who I am. Entering college, I became a person who is willing to take on any task, no matter how big or small. I am open to taking on any kind of beat or story knowing these projects could bring a whole new meaning to my journalism career.

I’ll admit, saying goodbye to school (at least for now) is not easy. I have been in school for most of my life and as stressful as it may be, I enjoy learning and being part of the education community. But as long as I focus on what’s important and give it my all, all will be well.

I have learned everything I know today thanks to my education, great educators, and to the amazing opportunities I partook in along the way.

This is not the end, as I still have a lifetime left to learn and grow. Even more, I will take every opportunity to become the best journalist I can possibly be.

Nicole Lopez may be reached at [email protected]; @nicoleilopez on Twitter.