I had wrestled with the idea of going to this conference for weeks, ever since I saw some Facebook friends attend another one in D.C. earlier this summer that left me feeling jealous because not only do I love D.C., but the people they were meeting and assumed connections they were making made feel as if I was missing out on something important, my purpose.
My relationship with journalism was indeed a difficult one. I have always struggled about whether or not it was something I truly wanted to pursue. And if so, what type of journalist did I want to be? I never felt like I fit in with what I call “traditional” journalism (the people you see on the news) and after a bad experience with my school’s newspaper a couple years ago, I knew news writing was something I had no desire to do either.
Creative by nature, I’ve always enjoyed writing stories about anything that crossed my mind and the older I got, I became interested in blogging about topics that interest me. If you truly know Kia, whether it is in real life or based off of an online relationship then you know I’m opinionated and passionate about well….everything.
Upon entering college, my relationship with NABJ has not been as consistent as it should’ve been. I haven’t been an active member in almost 2 years due to other obligations and other leadership involvement on my campus but with my fifth year of college rolling around, I decided I wanted to become a due paying member again.
For those that are not aware, NABJ stands for National Association of Black Journalists and was founded December 12, 1975 by 44 men and women in Washington D.C. It is the largest organization of journalists of color in the world. For more information, visit nabj.org
When the current NABJ of my school’s chapter told us about the upcoming Region 2 conference on finance in Chicago, I knew I had to go.
Luckily, this conference was only a 5 hour drive from my school and with me actually being from Chicago, I didn’t have to deal with outlandish hotel fees like many of my counterparts. The next two weeks leading up to the conference were dedicated to figuring out what I was wearing, updating my resume and putting in an order for business cards.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, I boarded the red line to an unfamiliar part of downtown Chicago. It was raining this day, and I was honestly in a terrible mood but I pressed forward knowing that I was meant to be here.
What truly warmed my heart was being in a room full of educated and passionate journalists of color, who were either just starting out in the business or veterans in this business.The advice that was given, the knowledge that was dropped! I can’t wait to share with you all about that but in the mean time… let me just revel in my moment.
This conference helped me figure out that my voice does indeed matter and that there is a place for me in the world of journalism and there are professional people in this world who know exactly how I feel and want to see me make it.
Moral of the story: The best investment you’ll ever make in life is always the investment you’ll make in yourself.