This was the very first blog entry, dated August 6, 2010 – read on…
I am writing this on the first day as a matriculated student at UMass Amherst – School of Journalism’s Certificate in Journalism Program. Thanks to my husband Bob for motivating me to pursue this.
This is a day of celebration for me because of my dream to pursue journalism from the time I was in grade school. At that time, my love for writing – letters, essays, poems – was deeply embedded in the deepest of the deepest part of my heart and soul. In my grade school’s English classes, my teachers played a major role in helping me express myself through letters and notes, they were read and discussed before the class. In high school, I was one of the writers in our school paper. My writings were more about dreams, aspirations and values-oriented.
Growing up in a big household with parents crowded with twelve children (I’m the youngest) and cousins who ‘visited’ for long periods of time spanning years and those who made daily/weekend drop bys, simply chaotic. So my routines in doing my homework were done in the middle of the night, lacking in electricity, but lit by a gas light. (In the morning, my nose had to be cleaned of the dark spots from the gas light! But this gas light story is saved for another day.)
As my high school graduation came closer, I expressed my desire to go to journalism school with my parents. They were very realistic in telling me how highly impossible for them to afford such an education for me. Instead, I went to a community college to take business.
My English 1 class was a delight, as again I wrote. My professor asked us to write about anything. I wrote about my hopes, dreams and aspirations, titled “As I Lay Thinking”. It was almost a brief from a young person focused to do good for herself and for her family. The most unforgettable from this essay was when the professor read it in class (A+ of course), then called me after class to ask what I was doing in a business school and not in journalism. My young heart was so stricken, but had the composure to tell her that my parents had no means to support me.
My journey took me to a path to a very good business education and to a successful career with General Electric who supported my graduate degree and a marketing position that took me to many wonderful places, meeting people that I probably will never meet had I been a journalist. The biggest reward was being able to help my parents, my brothers and sisters and their families to enjoy the same fruits that I had.
The other attribute was the opportunity to use my God-given talent to give back to my schools in many ways, to the community in need of a good newsletter editor, to a friend in need of a good letter and be able to write and deliver my own speeches as president of the alumni association of my college alma mater, Golden Gate University.”
I don’t want to bore my readers any further but happy to say that I completed my journalism studies in the Spring of 2012. I learned the value of being a good journalist, an effective news writer and an interviewer, how important for journalists to be ethical, honest and to value integrity. In my final article I said, “The piercing sadness and the broken heart of the 16-year old are but a memory. Dreams are fulfilled. And now it’s time to build new dreams. This is destiny.”
Normita Fenn studied journalism at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She earned her MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University-San Francisco. She resides in San Ramon, California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @NormitaFenn