My experience at The Alligator hasn’t been a typical one. But neither has my college experience.
It started with a stint as a contributing writer. And then I tried my hand at being a columnist. However, from the time I knew The Alligator even existed, I dreamed of “staff writer” going next to my name. It took a few tries to get here.
There was rejection. Hospitalizations. Times I wondered if I’d ever get back to UF, let alone the paper.
About a year ago, I was lying on a hospital gurney preparing to lose my colon. I’ve had doctors and even professors question my career choice due to my medical background.
However, if there’s anything this year has taught me, it’s that journalism can be and should be for everyone.
Confession: I still have never stepped foot in The Alligator office. Or been able to physically hold the paper with my name and staff writer title.
But I have written dozens of articles from my bedroom and made lasting connections with a newspaper and its team who have built me up as a writer and a person.
Writing this column is unsettling. I don’t feel like my final undergrad semester at UF is almost over. At the same time, it feels like a lifetime.
I’ve grown so much in a short time.
College taught me a lot of things, but most of all the importance of not giving up.
If you’ve ever questioned your story, I’m here to tell you that you belong in journalism. It’s never easy, but, to me, it’s always worth it to be able to share someone’s story and make a difference.
Journalism felt like a career for the energetic and outspoken. I’m here to tell you, as an often tired and soft-spoken reporter, it can be for you.
The field, especially as it’s gone remote, has become more accessible for some reporters. There’s obviously room to grow when in newsrooms across the country certain voices continue to dominate and construct the narrative.
However, journalism is changing and evolving. Journalists of all kinds can make a difference in roles old and new: traditional reporting, video, audience engagement and more.
I hope journalism continues to become a field that tells stories for everyone. And if the media landscape is anything like the group of journalists I’ve had the honor of working with this semester, it will be a great place.
Sophie Feinberg was the K-12 reporter for The Alligator.