Hello from Your Newest Journalism Ambassador

Hello from Your Newest Journalism Ambassador

As many of you probably noticed, Stephanie graduated in December. And boy did she leave a legacy! I personally looked up to her and enjoyed her blog posts right up to the end. I definitely have some big shoes to fill. I just want to start by giving a brief introduction of myself before I get into some more exciting blog posts in the coming weeks.

The first thing you should know is I’m obsessed with Columbia. Once I decided that I wanted to be here, I ripped off a little piece of one of Columbia’s pamphlets, put it on my dashboard, and stared at it for over a year. I would look at it while I was driving—at red lights, turning left out of the corner of my eye.

I wanted to remember what I was striving for, in case I decided to give up for some reason. I wanted something tangible to hold onto that said, “You have a future Katie.”

I wasn’t planning on giving up, but when you start your senior year of college 10 years after you first stepped foot on a campus…you never know.

I used to look back on my last 10 years with a sense of shame. I was embarrassed that I kept changing my major and putting my college career on hold for a shot at Starbucks management.

Photo by Katie Kather, Journalism MA

Everybody has their own story, and each story is different. I am glad I didn’t have a cookie cutter experience—high school, four years of college, married, children—because I didn’t know what I wanted.

Now, I embrace my experience because it led me to this: Columbia’s Journalism MA program.

Photo by Katie Kather, Journalism MA

For something that started out as slowly as my college experience, the year leading up to Columbia is a blur.

It all started after my first communication class, Writing for Communication. My professor had 20 years of experience in the journalism field. We left the classroom and covered events on campus, conducted person-on-the-street interviews, and wrote press releases, features, and news stories. I was exhilarated, but the majority of the class was less than thrilled. I was getting A’s while many students complained that they were barely getting C’s. “This kind of writing is so hard,” they would say. “Give me academic writing over this any day.”

One day, I mentioned this to my professor, and she said something that changed my life. “If something comes naturally to you and you enjoy it…that probably means something.” It sounds so simple now, but I had never thought of it that way.

One year (and a lot of hard work) later, I am starting my second semester of graduate school—something I never thought I would be able to do.

From the moment I stepped into the graduate building, something clicked. Two months later, I dragged a friend along to the Graduate Open House. After meeting the professors and touring the journalism building, I never looked back.

Photo by Katie Kather, Journalism MA

So, if this reads like a love letter to Columbia, it kind of is. I know the next year is going to be a lot of hard work because the first semester sure was, but I am ready and excited to see what this next chapter brings.

Stay tuned for next week’s post: a reflection of my first semester, including my biggest tips.