Writing has always a been passion of mine. I can’t begin to explain how many journals and diaries I’ve gone through. There was always something so meticulous about pairing words together to create a body of text that evoked curiosity in me.
While other kids dreamt of being doctors and lawyers, I knew I wanted to write. Becoming an author was my aspiration. I wanted to write books that would provide the euphoria of reading to others.
As I got older, however, writing essays became more difficult. I would struggle to read and examine literary works and my obsession with books died down. Writing was still a hobby, but I was more open to new possibilities, new ideas and new futures.
Then came the summer before my junior year of high school. My high school registered me in “College Now,” a program in New York City where high school students from all four boroughs enroll in in college-level classes at participating institutions nearest to them. The program focuses on helping students obtain college credit and finding their major interests before they enter college.
Being a Bronx native, I attended Lehman College three times a week during the fall, spring and summer semesters. From English to stage production to law, I took classes in a variety of subjects. It wasn’t until the summer before my senior year of high school that I discovered what I truly enjoyed.
During that summer, I enrolled in a journalism class that taught me the basics of reporting, including how to format an article and how to quote people. At the start of each week we were put into pairs, given different topics and sent out to the streets to interview people. Each article was due that following Friday.
While most of my reporting partners were shy and vaguely interested, I found myself taking on the challenge. I’ve always been outgoing, so talking to people and getting their stories and viewpoints came easily.
My love for journalism sparked when I noticed how most people I interviewed were more than eager to participate. When you ask people to share what they think, it gives them a sense of empowerment and importance — a chance to speak, be heard, and know that what they say matters.
To me, this was beautiful. Not only did I love reporting and talking to people, but I also loved writing articles and putting them up for display by the end of the week.
Flash forward to present day: I’m a Lehigh junior who’s been studying journalism since the moment I stepped foot on campus in fall 2016.
Finding yourself doesn’t always come easy.
For years I aspired to become a best-selling author, but only after I explored did I realize I didn’t enjoy English as much as I thought I did. Instead, I preferred sharing people’s stories and opinions in real time.
My love for writing is just one example of what makes up my identity. Not one thing about me is standard — my identity has been shaped and formed by who I am as a person, what I like, the experiences I’ve had and how I’ve chosen to try new things.
Finding who you are takes trial and error, especially in college where students have to make a plethora of life-changing decisions. The struggle of finding oneself is far from being a mediocre one.
Too often I catch up with a friend and they tell me, “I’m just so confused with what I want to do and who I am.” It’s important to remember that your identity isn’t set in stone. It’s OK to dabble, it’s OK to fail, it’s OK to explore and break away from what you once thought was right for you.
As long as you stick true to who you are, you will master the art of finding yourself.
Massiel Checo, ’20, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]