This I Believe

Lea - Fredericksburg, Virginia
Entered on March 15, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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Passion for your work

I believe in passion. I believe that you have to love something with all your heart, or life will be meaningless.

Passion is evident in the lives of all successful men in the past: Hawthorne had such an insane desire for his craft that he secluded himself for 12 years to be the perfect writer. Thoreau endured loneliness and even jail time because he needed individualism in his life to feel complete.

I have been lucky enough to find my passion; I have am hungry for words. As a sophomore in high school, I took a journalism class , and I was floored by the love, dedication, and ambition journalists put into their work. On my first day , my teacher said, “Journalism is truth, the world needs your honesty.” From then on, I was hooked.

After awhile, I was inseparable from the constant rumble of the newsroom. I was addicted to the smell of hot newspaper ink fresh off the press ; the constant blur of busy reporters, and the liberating presence of truth at my fingertips.

To satisfy my craving for journalism, I went to the local newspaper, the Free Lance Star, and asked for more. It was my desire for truth; my hunger for words that kept me asking for more. It seemed that my passion was all over me, and I couldn’t get enough.

After a year or so of writing for both papers, I applied for an internship at Stafford’s local paper. My application was accepted, and I gathered my notepad and a few pencils hurriedly, ready for the job.

I was sure that I wouldn’t be reporting on the local news, and I didn’t expect to be printed, but on my first day I began compiling police reports and typing in obituaries for the editors. I undertook tedious and time consuming jobs, but I had never been so happy. My life had become filled with endless note taking and an onslaught of keyboarding exercises, but I completed every job I was given quickly and efficiently, taking on as many assignments as possible. I was determined to make my mark.

I began to feel at home behind my desk, taking calls and typing away busily. My passion was bleeding through my fingertips; I was literally thirsting for words, and the desire I had for my job was noticeable.

My mentor saw how important journalism was to me. After a week or so of hard work, she gave me a real assignment: I conducted interviews, covered a local event, and had a “staff reporter” byline to my name. When my mentor handed me my finished piece, she said, “ You love this, don’t you?” When all I could do was smile, she said, “ You’ll be a journalist, yet.”