Have you ever noticed that when people are asked to chose three words to describe themselves, at least one of the words will have something to do with productivity- they'll say they are dedicated or hard-working. But what is it that makes someone those things? I believe that for someone to be truly hard-working, dedicated, or loyal, they have to be extremely passionate about what they do. A person's passions are what drives them to care or to work hard. Those who are lucky are able to combine their passions with their jobs and their studies. I am definitely lucky. I am passionate about communicating. I am passionate about building relationships. I am passionate about making the most out of everything I do. It is because I am passionate that I work hard at my job and at my hobbies. It is because I am passionate that I have succeeded as a leader and as a student. It is because I am passionate that I am excited about my present and my future.
I like to think that my career began in my sophomore year of high school when started writing for my high school newspaper, The Tower. Over the course of my three years on staff, I held three leadership positions, including editor in chief. Through The Tower, I had the opportunity to compete, ultimately winning the nomination of Michigan's Student Journalist of the Year in 2019. More importantly than the awards and titles, however, was the experience I gained as a writer, leader and communicator. I viewed working with my peers to develop their stories and explore their interests as journalists as an incredible honor and privilege. I took my role as a student journalist seriously, conducted myself professionally and formed great relationships with sources in my community. My experience as a high school journalist set me up for professional success early on and has enabled me to navigate many challenging situations with grace.
In the summer of 2018, I was honored with the opportunity to represent the state of Michigan at the Al Neuharth Free Spirit Journalism Conference in Washington D.C. On the very first day there, Chuck Todd, moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, explained to us Free Spirits that he viewed those in the communications industry as teachers for the American public, providing them with the information they need to function in the world today. To this day, it is this belief that drives everything I do as a professional and as a human being.
The same things that I am passionate about as a professional carry over to my life outside of the proverbial office. I have been competitively sailing small boats since the age of 13 and coaching sailors ages 11-13 for the last two summers in my hometown. More specifically, I am a crew, which means I make all the tactical calls and serve as an in-boat mental coach for the skipper, or driver of the boat. Sailing has taught me so much about communicating with others, especially in tough situations. As a sailor and a coach, I have learned the power of empathy a thousand times over. To get two people to move one boat around an ever-changing playing field, I have to be able to communicate quickly, and with compassion. When the stakes are high on the racecourse, I am focused, succinct and kind in my directions. For three years, I sailed exclusively with one of my best friends. While many of my teammates and their partners burned each other out in a matter of weeks, I maintained a healthy environment on our 12-foot sailboat; calmly discussing the ways we could improve and supporting my skipper after particularly challenging races. One of my proudest moments as a team captain in my senior year of high school was getting in a boat with a struggling freshman skipper and finishing the race in first place. I was able to communicate what moves would help us cross the finish line first all while putting her mind at ease (which is truly the key to success). Few things give me more joy than seeing the sailors I coach improve throughout their season, knowing that I had been able to impart some of my knowledge successfully.
As a sailor and inhabitant of planet earth, I care deeply about the environment. I do my best to live a low-waste lifestyle. For me, this means eating a plant based diet, shopping secondhand and avoiding single use plastics. As a journalist and communicator, I think it is important to share stories about the health of our planet and what can be done to save it. I think that my enthusiasm for intersectional sustainablily is the place where all of my passions converge.
September 2020 marks the beginning of my sophomore year at GVSU. Since the fall of my freshman year, I have written 21 stories for the Lanthorn, GVSU's student newspaper. Since the fall of 2019, I have managed social media for the Making Waves Initiative at GVSU. I have maintained a spot on the dean's list every semester to date. I have worked hard to earn and learn from every accomplishment so far, and I see this year as an opportunity to do and learn even more. I am thrilled to begin my journey as an advertising and public relations minor, to apply what I learn to the things I already love to do. My passion lead me here, and I cannot wait to discover all the ways it will fill this new piece of my life.