“Oh, you’re going to Lehigh? Business or engineering?”
“I think the most sensible people stay as far away as they can from the arts. What a waste of time!”
“I know you really like journalism, but aren’t there more worthwhile areas of study?”
Journalists, musicians, thespians and anyone of the sort, gather ‘round.
You know you’ve heard one of these statements before. I’m not trying to make a martyr out of myself, but I think I speak for all of us in saying there’s a shared frustration when it comes to discussing your passions with other people and hearing these sorts of responses.
It’s annoying, right? After all, we nurture our passions for a reason.
Let’s backtrack here and go slightly off topic.
Let’s start on Aug. 24, 2017: the day I moved into college. Easily one of the most memorable days of my life.
You’ve heard this kind of story dozens of times before — you’ve even lived it yourself.
I experienced the typical orientation weekend with ordinary, surface-level icebreakers. Though I was eager to meet new people and make new friends, this didn’t necessarily work out the way I had hoped.
While the adrenaline and exhilaration of truly being on my own were enjoyable, when the rush was over I realized that I really was on my own.
Before college I had come from a setting where I heavily depended on my friends and family. I discovered quickly that without this immediate presence, life here at Lehigh challenged me in a way that I had not yet experienced.
Even after starting classes and having an actual schedule, I wasn’t in a familiar groove. On the occasions that I would go home, most everyone seemed to care about what I should be involved with — not with what I was actually doing.
This, unfortunately, had me feeling out of place at Lehigh: the place I wanted to eventually call home.
As luck would have it, I was registered for a journalism class.
I had the good foresight to follow through on a passion that I thought might die as a passing interest after high school.
The fact that I did not consider pursuing journalism as my main area of study seems silly to think about now, considering how significant of a role it played in my high school experience. After all, I developed some of my closest relationships through working on my high school’s newspaper.
After thinking about it, I sure am glad that I decided to pursue journalism and writing in college, despite the culmination of misguided aspirations and skewed advice from others.
A couple weeks into my first semester, my journalism class visited the upper floor of Coppee Hall, where students spend countless hours on The Brown and White.
When I walked through the doors, I immediately experienced a flashback to Emmaus High, when it was 9 o’clock, and I was with my adviser and two or three close friends, stressing to finish our paper.
It was the kind of rush I knew I was missing. A kind of comfort that I knew I lacked but wanted. This was my passion — not business, engineering, or any other “sensible” pursuit. For me, this sudden epiphany of sorts was easily one of the most defining points of my college career and life so far.
So then, the decision was simple. I joined The Brown and White.
Writing my first article — a piece on the women’s volleyball team — served the same purpose. When push came to shove, I knew that I wanted to write. It felt like home.
I have since grown completely confident in my initiative to continue studying journalism. In fact, it’s the only part of my foreseeable studies that I’m fully certain about.
While I imagine that some of my other interests and passions will shift during my four years, writing has and will continue to be one of my few consistent passions. I am unspeakably thankful for where writing has taken me so far.
So, to everyone who might be in the same boat, questioning if journalism or writing has a place in your life: Write on.
William Newbegin, ’21, is an assistant sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.