In the eighth grade, I applied to write for my middle school newspaper. I was rejected.
At the time I was disappointed, but I was still hopeful for high school. I was truly determined to be a journalist.
In my freshman year of high school, I joined The Lariat newspaper staff. My stories at first where covered with red ink.
I took each criticism and rewrote my stories. I was eager to improve. I read articles from The New York Times and The Washington Post to learn how to improve my writing.
The red ink soon faded and my adviser began handing me the hard-hitting story topics.
By junior year, I was the news editor of The Lariat. That summer, I traveled to Chicago to attend the Northwestern University National High School Institute Journalism Division. At the program, there were rewriting nights,where I along with the 82 other students attending the program, rewrote news ledes late into the night until our instructors approved.
When I returned to high school my senior year, my adviser awarded me the position of Editor-in-Chief. Under my leadership, The Lariat won the National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker award for online journalism.
That same year I traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept an award of my own. At the National Press Club annual award ceremony, I was awarded a scholarship for journalism diversity.
Since high school, my writing has improved significantly as a result of my perseverance. My newspaper adviser still tells my story to The Lariat staff writers to encourage them.
I take every story as an opportunity to learn, and I learn quickly. I continue to learn at the University of Florida, where I write for the Alachua County Today and The Independent Florida Alligator, the nation's largest student-run independent newspaper.
I constantly strive to improve my writing, develop my skills and experience new opportunities.