The Other Side of Fear: Senior Reflection


Photo courtesy of The Prairie News

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

College was always a no-brainer to me. The fear of becoming an adult is one of the primary reasons as to why and also the fact that I was conditioned by my parents and teachers that there really was no other option. Now that I am nearing the end of my sabbatical from becoming a full-fledged adult, I will share my journey on how I gradually found myself on the other side of that fear.

I came to West Texas A&M University because it was close to home and within my price range. It’s actually the only university that I applied to because, for me, there was only one option. It also helped that I could avoid the residential living requirement placed on freshmen and sophomores by living with my parents for those first two years and essentially cut my cost to attend college in half.

I am chagrined to admit that I picked my desired major out of sheer panic because WT scholarship applications were due within the hour and I had learned earlier that day I couldn’t be a doctor thanks to the minks we were dissecting in my anatomy and physiology class. Luckily, I had been on the school newspaper for two years and enjoyed it enough that I made broadcast journalism my major. Plus, I wasn’t as strong a creative writer to become a novelist like I had wanted to in junior high so I decided telling other people’s stories instead of creating my own was a good trade off.

My choice of major probably ended up being the best rushed decision I ever made because I was quickly integrated into The Prairie News through the practicum and stayed ever since. I did have a brief stint with 1910PR for whom I am grateful to because of everything I learned from them, the most important thing being that journalism is where I fit better.

I have been with The Prairie News for three and a half years and was part of the senior staff that was integral is it’s transfer from print and online to fully digital. Working for the student-run news organization soon became my motivation because I was actually doing what I wanted to when I decided my major. I was creating content that was being published and read by the real world, and it didn’t just stop at writing. I was creating video and audio pieces, taking pictures which is something I grew up doing thanks to 4-H and people were reading my stories!

The best part for me though was meeting my friends through The Prairie News. Creating the “Doing it for the Grade” podcast with Hannah and Alyssa, creating video and audio pieces with Ceasar and Jeff, being put in my place by Jonah’s amazing writing skills, those are some of my favorite memories and friendships I hope that will carry on. Not to forget to mention working for Dr. Garcia these past three years was probably the best thing I could hope for because she knew where to push and where to be kind. She started teaching the semester Alyssa and I started at WT and it has been a great journey to watch us three grow and thrive together.

College was difficult for me from the very beginning because I had to completely change my learning style. In high school, I was good at school because I had learned the patterns to be the most successful with the least amount of work. This didn’t really fly my first year here and I had to quickly adjust. The new found freedom was also a struggle as much as handling my free time was. Before college, I always had something to do thanks to extracurriculars and 4-H but with graduating out of that, I was lost afloat among the infinite possibilities presented to me. But I eventually found land.

With growing up in the Bible Belt and being closeted for the majority of high school leading up to the start of my sophomore year of college, I found it hard to accept myself and come out to my family until I attended SpectrumWT meetings. This was the first and only gay-straight alliance I had ever heard of in my 19 years of living and it was very surreal to see such a large group of people like me and openly sharing who they were with everyone.

Being around all these people who were loving and accepting helped to encourage me to come out to my parents who, of course, already knew. Apparently, they figured it out when I was younger and were just waiting for me to catch up. I really love and appreciate them for supporting me, not just in my sexuality but also in my high school and college career. They are amazing and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.