So, yeah, I made it to Eastern Illinois University and I am doing just fine. I may have gotten a little ahead of myself once I arrived, preventing me from updating this post.
How did I get ahead of myself you ask? For starters, I committed to a few more duties with the Daily Eastern News than I could live up to. Initially when I chose EIU my intentions were to fine tune my skills as a writer in preparation for a enjoyable and meaningful career. That was before my jobs back home made me a pretty marketable candidate for many other positions on the paper’s staff.
NOW I SHOULD PROBABLY CATCH YOU UP ON MY JOURNALISM EXPERIENCE
My first taste of journalism was covering sports for the ICC Harbinger, another student-run publication. That led to sports editor, followed by managing editor. I should point out that I only held the managing editor position for one semester. During my final year at ICC I also was hired on at the Pekin Times as a sports clerk — basically entering everything that makes up the scoreboard page. I did a little answering phones and chasing scores also.
Before long I was hired on with the Peoria Journal Star to do similar work. I found myself learning much more than running a student publication could teach and therefore decided I needed to step away from the school paper and focus on the real world training. I also was about to have a baby and the thought of graduation was becoming real, which lead me to plan for the next phase in my education.
That is when I found EIU and applied, I was quickly accepted. After my first visit to the campus in the town of Charleston I knew EIU was for me. The small, yet dominate campus was perfect for a nontraditional student like myself. Community College never really prepared me for the big time of a University like my original choice of Kansas State. At 38-years-old I didn’t want to go to college to stand out and feel super awkward due to my age.
On that first visit I met with my advisor who showed great interest in not only me, but for my wife and kids that were along for the visit. My advisor also appreciated everything that I have been doing in preparing myself for a career in the journalism field. And to be honest, I had no idea the value that what I was doing was doing to help me out. I also met many of the DEN staff, who were also super welcoming, and knew that I would be back to Charleston.
Shortly after that visit I was offered a position with the DEN as a page desinger/copy editor.
The self-improvement didn’t end with page design. The Pekin Times showed me that I also had some potential as a photographer. The night of a Republican party dinner a accident occurred that forced the new editor to forgo the dinner. I bought a DSLR a few months before and considered myself knowledgable with the settings and capable of getting pics of the dinner. They sent me to get photos — I had no idea the possibilities that were in store for me after that photo was published in not only the Pekin Times but the Journal Star as well.
It would be awhile before I would shoot anything more for the Pekin Times, but I was given the chance many more times.
Where am I going with the whole photo story? I took so many photos in the last year, watched so many Youtube videos and improved my photography knowledge so much so that I was soon offered the opportunity to become a regular photographer for the DEN.
So, I am a page designer/copy editor and photographer before I even leave home for college. And oh yeah, I am also going to be a full-time student.
NOW WE ARE CAUGHT UP
You probably also can tell by looking at my site, I also have a little knowledge in wordpress. My little bit of wordpress knowledge led to me being offered a position as online editor for the DEN. A position I would accept and quickly back away from. I quickly found that the three jobs would require too much of my time and allow me zero time for the most important part of Eastern — my studies.
As fast as the first three weeks have gone, having the time to write this post helps me to realize I am finally settling in and ready to accomplish what I set out to — gain experience and graduate.
Until next time…