On the last day of my internship one week before graduation, I looked in the mirror and almost didn’t recognize the girl staring back at me. My physical changes were minimal—longer hair, a more mature face and more fashionable dress clothes—but the way I held myself was different. No longer was I the shy, slightly naïve girl who stepped onto Boston University’s campus on a hot, late-summer day nearly four years ago. The girl staring back at me was accomplished, confident and ready to dive into the job market.
Before starting the college application process there were two things I knew: I wanted to go to school in Boston and I wanted to major in journalism. There’s no shortage of journalism programs in the city and I eagerly chose BU thinking its College of Communication would mold me into a hard-hitting journalist.
But I was in for a harsh reality check. At the first event I reported on my freshman year I was so timid I barely worked up the courage to interview just one person. How was I supposed to be a reporter if I couldn’t even stop someone to ask a question? Yet my professors, all former or current journalists, were relentless, constantly pushing us to break out of our shells and chase down the next big story.
I didn’t realize the effect these classes had on me until the end of an internship at my hometown daily newspaper summer after sophomore year. One of the reporters who knew my father told him that while most people came through the newspaper’s internship and decided not to pursue journalism further, I was different. She said that beyond just working well with editors, I was assertive enough to talk to sources and get interviews. When my father told me the story we laughed, but in the back of my mind I began to realize that maybe I did have the personality to be a reporter.
My confidence grew during a study abroad program in London. One day, I rushed through the Underground on my way to my internship with my music playing, morning newspaper and coffee in hand, in the same fashion as all the commuting Londoners around me. As I looked around, I had the sudden, simple realization that if I could adapt so easily to living and working halfway around the world—including navigating the complicated labyrinth that is the Tube—I could take on any challenges that came my way.
Now, as I prepare to graduate, I realize that BU has given me all the tools necessary for a successful journalism career, from writing to website coding to video editing. Most of all, in little ways, this university has given me an overall confidence. Whether it was a passing comment of praise from a professor or successfully planning trips from London to countries where I don’t speak the language, these small instances showed me that I was on the right track.
For the first time, I’m not scared of what the future will bring. I might not have a job lined up yet, but I believe my experiences will help me land one, and that’s a self-assuredness my 18-year-old self could have never imagined at the start of her college career.
Lisa Kashinsky is graduating summa cum laude from Boston University with a dual degree in journalism and psychology.