That was my GPA at the end of my sophomore year at Palmyra Area High School and for those of you that do not know, that is really really bad. I also found myself two credits away from flunking out and not graduating with my class.
It wasn’t my parents’, friends’, or my teachers’ fault – it was my fault due to my lack of prioritization. It took me years to realize that.
I passionately disliked school, and I had no clue what my path or my purpose was.
I was lost.
I still remember going with my dad to an open house seminar at our local Career and Technical Center (CTC). This was my parents’ attempt to put me on a path to success since school was clearly not my strong suit.
I have great respect for all young adults that pursue a technical career or trade, but after watching my dad come home tired and frustrated from his job as a mechanic year after year, I knew this wasn’t the future for me.
This would not bring me happiness.
I decided from that point on that I was going to actually try in school and attempt to find a passion. Luckily, that passion was discovered my senior year in my morning broadcast class with Mrs. Becki Pope.
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9 a.m. we went live to every classroom in the school. The original format of the class was to rotate into positions throughout the TV studio every week, but once I had the chance to be on the air, I was adamant about doing it again as frequently as possible.
I finally found my passion.
I ended up graduating high school on time in 2017 and then did one year at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) in order to ease my way into college life. I feared that I may not be able to handle the workload and was concerned that I would let my family and myself down. However, I quickly found out that when you have a passion and a goal to chase, everything else falls into place.
I transferred to Slippery Rock University (SRU) in 2018 as a converged journalism major with a minor in political science and my time here has been an absolute BREEZE.
That was a joke. Nothing about my journey to becoming a reporter and news anchor has been easy or a “breeze”. It required stepping out of my comfort zone, putting myself out there, and making a lot of mistakes. I have learned to embrace those mistakes as part of the process. Everything is a process, and I couldn’t be happier to finally be forming my own.
I became a member of WSRU-TV in 2020-2021 during the pandemic and was the host of our news program called On the Rocks. I was finally back in front of the camera. This recemented my love of broadcast and reminded me of the fulfillment I get from informing a local community of the important news that affects them directly. I would later become the president of the organization my senior year and have loved every second of it.
I recently became the assistant news editor of The Rocket at the start of my second semester of senior year once the position opened up. Joining the staff was the best academic decision I ever made during my time at SRU. To be completely blunt, it has been the best experience of my life up to this point.
I will miss walking into the Eisenberg Classroom Building on a bitterly cold day and staying in The Rocket office till late at night.
I will miss our weekly afternoon budget meetings where we all sat down and pitched our sections’ stories and goals for the week.
I will especially miss grabbing a beer with my news editor Joe Wells after a long day of getting no responses from the people we reached out to.
I will also miss grabbing a celebratory beer with Joe Wells after finally blowing the door wide open on a story.
Okay, maybe I’ll just miss drinking beer with Joe in general, but you get the point.
I am proud to soon become an SRU alum and I am very proud to soon be starting my internship at WGAL News 8 – my favorite local news station growing up.
I am beyond grateful that my mom doesn’t need to worry about whether her youngest son is going to find a job he loves and discover his place in this world. I am just glad that I can finally make her proud. She deserves to be happy after all the bullshit I put her through growing up.
My editor and chief, Nina Cipriani, told me that this letter was supposed to be my goodbye message, but this definitely isn’t a goodbye message.
This is a message to those who are struggling to find their place or their passion. This is a message urging them to calm down and trust the process! You may find yourself at the bottom of the valley right now, but tomorrow your climb begins – if you want it to, of course.
My climb clearly hasn’t been perfect, and neither will yours. There will always be people who want to bring you down. Forget them. Keep climbing.
There will always be a voice in the back of your head making you question if you’re good enough. Ignore it. Keep climbing.
There will always be moments when you feel undoubtedly exhausted and only able to find peace by closing your eyes. Open your eyes and see what is in front of you. That is your potential, and to achieve it all you need to do is keep climbing.
I am a believer in Christ, I am a first-generation college student, and I am a journalist.
I look forward to being on a TV screen near you in the future. I am excited to represent and serve my community to the best of my ability, and I especially look forward to seeing others climb to the top of their mountain.
Keep on climbing. I hope to see you soon.