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A Minute with Maya: My resilience and my writing

As an eighth grader at Dempsey Middle School, I was tasked with choosing my classes for my freshman year of high school. I stared at the numerous pages of classes until one stopped me and I said, "What the h— is journalism?"

I ended up taking this mysterious course, and I hated it at first. However, throughout the duration of that year, I grew to love the fast-paced world that was journalism. I stuck with it throughout high school, writing for our student newspaper, The Talisman, and eventually, this once-unknown word would describe the trajectory of my life. 

Entering college my freshman year, I was petrified to be in a new place, and in turn, I was petrified to try new things. I grew out of my shell a bit more during my second semester in Athens and decided to write for The Post.

I had clear intentions of writing for the Culture section of the publication when I entered the newsroom that day. However, two of the most influential people in my life swiftly changed that as they asked me to write for the News section. I was hesitant, but I can't say no to people.

That hesitation eventually turned into a staff writer position, internships, an editor position and even a trip to Washington, D.C. But none of these things came easily, and a lot of times I was unsuccessful. 

My first failure came with my first story. I was reporting on the Ohio University athletic budget and was tasked with getting comments from athletic department members and players. What I didn't know was that I had to go through the University Communications and Marketing team to talk to anyone at the university. So what did I do? I called up the head football coach. He didn't answer.

After clearing that hurdle, I decided to write a story on the local middle school and the holiday it established in Athens, Andrew Jackson Davidson Day. Throughout the week of the event, I kept in contact with Athens Mayor Steve Patterson's assistant to ensure I could secure an interview with him at the middle school. When that day came, I watched Patterson walk out those middle school doors completely without getting a chance to interview him. This led me to chase the Athens Mayor down West State Street wearing a dress and heels.

After these occurrences, COVID-19 hit and I was back home in Delaware, Ohio. Things fell silent for a while as it was hard to focus on Athens when I could not physically be there. 

In my sophomore year I was granted the position of News Staff Writer, so my endeavors started up again, and I could keep embarrassing myself to the prominent figures of Athens. But this time, I would receive $30 for each time I endured the public humiliation.

However, I persevered and finished the role and the year with only three angry emails from readers and interview subjects, and I didn't even cry.

As Assistant News Editor for my final year at OU and The Post, I have taken more of a behind-the-scenes role. I have gotten the opportunity to teach others what I have learned so they do not face the same trial and error and occasional embarrassment I once did.

Don't get the wrong idea; I am not upset with these embarrassments and learning experiences. They have taught me resilience.

This resilience will help me overcome other obstacles like paying student loans and trying not to call my mom after every minor inconvenience. This resilience has truly been a gift to me, and I would not have changed a thing about my experiences within this publication and university.

This resilience is more valuable than the classes I have taken at this university, but that's not quite what I paid for.

This is Maya Morita's farewell column for The Post after four years of being on the staff. Maya is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Maya know by tweeting her @mayacatemorita.

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