Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Goal Accomplished: Article in Angus Journal

I've always felt that journalism was my passion. Though today my career finds me doing more PR and graphic design work, it was writing that first drew me into the field of communications.

My college major was animal science. But that wasn't exactly how I planned it. I first applied to Texas A&M University under the Ag Journalism department. When I went for my new student conference and it came to the point where you go meet with your department advisor to schedule your classes, no one from the Ag Journalism department showed up. So there my mom and I were sitting alone in Kleberg looking around wondering what the heck do we do now??

After sitting there, feeling stupid, and waiting for the ag journalism people to show up, Dr. Chris Skaggs came in and saw us. We knew Dr. Skaggs from showing and judging. He asked what was wrong, and said hey, don't worry, come with me...we want you in animal science! So I switched my major and Dr. Skaggs got me enrolled. I always say that was probably one of the most pivotal moments of my college career. Just think how my life would have been different if it wouldn't have been for the great people of the animal science  department like Dr. Skaggs, Dr. Boleman, and Dr. McNeill who shaped my life so much.

Despite the obvious shunning from the Deparment of Ag Journalism, which I've never quite got over, I graduated with a degree in animal science but I always had the passion for writing. When I was a junior at A&M, I wanted to take journalism classes for my electives. So I took the dreaded GSP (Grammar Spelling Punctuation) test that you had to pass to get admitted into the regular communications program. Made a perfect score. But since I was an animal science major (not communications) they still wouldn't let me in the journalism classes.

So, what did I do? Well, to be honest, I never gave up. I tried a different route...doing things on my own. I bought journalism textbooks and read them even though I wasn't in the classes. I got a mentor, Martha Garrett, who let me do some writing for her and she critiqued and edited it for me. I volunteered at The Eagle (Bryan Newspaper) and wrote for them to gain experience under the mentorship of Beverly Mosely. I volunteered with the TAMU Ag News team and wrote news releases. I joined the AgriLeader staff. I stalked news releases put out by the TAMU public relations office and I tried to learn everything I could in every way I could, even though Texas A&M journalism department seemed to keep closing the doors on me.

At that time, I idolized the Angus Journal. To me this was (and still is) the premier beef cattle breed association publication. I applied for their internship. Made the finals, went to St. Joe to interview, but didn't get selected. So, I then applied for a program they had at that time called the "Young Guns Writer Program" or something like that. It was for college students and you wrote articles kind of as mini-internships. I wrote several, submitted them, but none got published. I remember looking each month at the other ag journalism students who's stories made it and I'll admit, I was jealous.

One of my favorite songs of the summer is Eli Young's Keep on Dreaming. There's a line in that song that says "Some dreams stay with you forever, drag you around and bring you back to where you were. Some dreams keep on getting better, gotta keep believing if you want to know for sure." That is one of my favorite lyrics ever, because it's true.

I'm 33 years old, and it's been over 10 years since I sat there in my little office at Kleberg looking at the Angus Journal online and wishing it would be MY name on the byline. Between then and now, I've become a leading ag communications professional in the world, written a book, won 30 national design awards, and won Aggie 100 5 years in a row. But as they say, some dreams stay with you forever. And I'm proud to say that this May, I finally accomplished that goal. One of my stories was published in their May issue, and you can read it here: http://www.angusjournal.com/ArticlePDF/Pro%20Judge.pdf

You're never too old, or too professionally successful to re-visit old goals, set new goals and accomplish them. And it's true, if you keep on dreaming, and keep on trying, you CAN accomplish anything you want. It might take you 10 years, or even longer, but you CAN.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Thanks for the insight to how you've WORKED to get where you are!