It was my ambition that brought me to The Lamp my freshman year of college. I have always been a very ambitious person, and as a new college student- especially at a community college- I just felt that I had a lot to prove. I love to write, and my family and past teachers have always told me that I was good at it- I believed I was too.
I honestly don’t know what I expected from this experience when I first started. It took a little time for me to find my niche there. The first couple of articles I wrote were okay, but even though I wrote them I can’t really say that they’re uniquely mine. What was my role in this staff? At this college? Why was I writing anything, and why should I even bother writing it?
One of the most important things that I’ve learned from working under The Lamp’s advisor Tim McKenzie was to seek truth and report it- that phrase is from the Society of Professional Journalists- to me, this means sharing the stories that already exist within our communities.
One of the first assignments Tim assigned to me was just to look around campus and write a quick story about anyone doing anything. There’s a story there- there’s always a story because everyone has one. As a journalist, I seek to uncover these stories. But in order to do that, I had to know the Lincoln Land community that was around me, so I did.
Pretty soon, I took pride in being the girl with the camera at the various events happening on campus. I talked to many students, staff and faculty members about who they are, what they do, and what they think. I have witnessed and been a part of some significant milestones in LLCC history, and they are some of my fondest memories.
One of the reasons why I miss working for The Lamp so much has to do with that sense of community. I would spend my entire day on campus. I knew Lincoln Land inside and out. The people on The Lamp’s staff were people I saw every day. I have spent several hours locked in a room
cursing the name of Adobe InDesign with these people- and those are late night editing sessions that we will never get back. But that’s okay, because I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I know that I can write opinion pieces and personal essays in the comfort of my own bedroom and still be sharing my writing with the world- but it was working at The Lamp that helped me realize who I was writing for and why I do write. I write to understand the world around me. I write for the world around me.
Since graduating from Lincoln Land, I have been granted writing opportunities at and outside my current institution, UIS. I work for the student newspaper, and my work has been featured in a few literary journals- I’m excited to say that I’m even the managing editor of UIS’s own literary journal, Violet Margin.
At The Lamp, I learned that I deeply value and appreciate what journalism can do for communities, and what communities can do for journalism in return. I am happy to have been on The Lamp staff and grateful for where that experience has taken me.