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Take the Lead

Most sophomores in college have no clue what they want to do this weekend, let alone for the next 20 years. In the age of millennials and indecision, it’s rare to find a student who is ready to break into the workplace and has been since she was a sophomore in high school.

That was me. And for all of you out there who are struggling to find a major or even an interest, I’m not trying to brag. I know that finding your passion at such a young age is a blessing, so I took advantage of it.

At 15, I found myself enamored with journalism. Constantly reading newspapers, scanning magazines. I knew I wanted to be a part of it and I knew I had to start my journey to the editor’s desk.

I hit many obstacles on the way. My high school didn’t even have a newspaper, let alone a journalism class. I took two steps to get passed this. I emailed the editor of my town newspaper and my school principal. Within a week I was writing an article for the Easton Courier and starting an online journalism class financed by Joel Barlow High School.

I still remember picking up a copy of the Courier and seeing my name in print for the first time. At that moment, I knew I was on the right path.

That article lead to another, and then another. Finally I asked Nancy, the editor of the Courier, to get coffee. A short conversation ended in an internship with a weekly column. I was seeing my name in print almost every week, and I still got butterflies every time.

Unfortunately, the online journalism class I enrolled in was not as fulfilling as I hoped. This led me to seek out a more expansive education, so in the summer of 2013, as my friends laid on the beach and traveled the world, I applied to and attended the Medill-Northwestern Summer Institute where I spent five weeks in an intensive journalism program honing my skills. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, it was one of the best summers of my life. As I sat in class for hours everyday, writing leads and practicing interviews, I knew I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Now, it’s 2016, I’m 19 and I sit at the library, at Northwestern University, right after my journalism class at the Medill School of Journalism. Not a five-week summer intensive, but a four-year bachelors program. Since I was 15 I dreamed of sitting in this library and I made it happen. Don’t ever think it is too early to start preparing for the future. If you’re lucky enough to find your passion at a young age, get that head start. While I may not be the editor of Entertainment Weekly or Time Magazine yet, I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was four years ago.


^ There’s Carolyn on the right, sporting NU with pride!

Find out more about Carolyn (and read her work!) here.