In August of 2010, never did I ever think I would be here four years later...
I remember going back and forth in my head a million times, praying desperately for a sign from God to tell me whether or not I should attend the University of Florida. I remember flipping through a giant book of the best univerisities in the country - and found the long list of universtities with the top journalism programs. I remember pointing to the University of Florida after scanning through the list and saying "Mom, I want to go to the University of Florida!" And I made that statement really only knowing that one fact. I had pretty much completely ignored the Florida Gators and their existence for 17 years of my life... until that day. I later found out it was one of the 12 universities in the Southeastern Conference (which is now 14 with the addition of Texas A&M and Mizzou), a conference that had always been super and appealing with so many Vols fans in my hometown. The more research I did, the more perfect it became for me and the more it met my qualifications, one by one: a large student population, a balance of excellent academics and strong social life amongst students, a huge athletic program and very far away from Tennessee. After I visiting the campus after dreaming about it for about seven months, I was left disappointed. It didn't exactly meet my expectations. After returning to Tennessee, I quickly applied to the University of Central Florida as my newest first option (I fell in love with their campus). It's actually funny how things work out - because UCF denied me due to my late application - and I settled with UF (or so I thought). You know how they say everything happens for a reason, and you always think "Yeah yeah yeah, can we get any more clique?" Well, I'll be the first to admit that that statement is true. I didn't need a sign from God, he already had a plan for me. And today, I am so happy and excited and proud and grateful to say that ending up at the University of Florida was one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I'm not saying that my first year wasn't the toughest year of my life, or that I haven't I made it here without sacrifice (especially my parents) - but that I know this is where I belong despite it all.
Of all the organizations, events, shows, etc. I've had a chance to partipate in at the University of Florida, the College of Journalism has provided me with the most invaluable experiences of them all. The amount of opportunities that I've offered throughout my four years here has been absolutely crazy. I've had the chance to work behind the schenes as a camera operator, floor director and assistant director on both morning and and evening newscasts put on by the student-run television station, WUFT. I've worked as a producer for a WUFT live radio show. I served as an intern for Country 103.7 The Gator, a country station broadcast right from the College of Journalism and Communications. I was able to serve as a reporter for WUFT's radio station, which is an NPR affiliate, as well as a reporter/videographer for WUFT-TV for the past two years. I was lucky enough to be the sideline reporter this semester for the live broadcast University of Florida's 90th Annual Homecoming Parade. I am currently a main news anchor for the same newscast I worked behind the scenes for when I was just a freshman. I've come such a long way since then. I honestly have to say that the College of Journalism and Communications is the best college at this university. The number of resources we have is endless, from the Innovation News Center, where Journalism majors of all kinds gather news in one facility equipped with recording booths, desktops, computers and a live camera, to the Center for Media Innovation, or CMIR, which helps students push the limits of digital media.
Although I've worked extremely hard as a student journalist, I've also had the time of my life outside the classroom. When people ask me what my favorite part about this school is, I always give the same answer: it is the perfect balance between work and play. To me, that's what college is all about. UF has given me the best four years of my life. And I'll carry that with me forever after my time is up on May 3rd, 2014 at 2014.
Check out some social media pages and web pages that I've created while in college: