What a year, or, rather, a semester.

This semester I accomplished one of my biggest goals since coming to the university – being a sports editor.

In high school, I thought through every occupation possible, picturing what I wanted do and who I wanted to be in the future. Scary stuff, I know, but, at the end of the day, I picked two of the things I loved most — reading and writing. I didn’t want to be a novelist — too lonely. I didn’t want to study English literature — not enough expression.

I like to talk. I like to meet new people. I like to learn. I wanted to have a career with diversity, and a chance to travel and explore the world. So, what job could incorporate all these things? Journalism.

I fell in love with it after writing my first article for the University Press and seeing my name printed in a newspaper. I knew this was what I wanted to do, and nothing could stop me after that.

My first interaction with the media was by volunteering for the University Press. Well, technically, it was mandatory for my multimedia class, but it quickly began to stop feeling like work or a grade. It was fun.

Fun? In college? I know right. But it was. I got to experience the campus from a new perspective. I got to talk to teachers and professionals, I would have never met otherwise. Eventually, I took on the role as staff writer. Now I was getting paid to do what I truly wanted to do. I began to gravitate towards sports. No one on the staff at the time knew much about sports, or liked them, except me. I grew up playing basketball and watching football. I even tried soccer once but it was too much running. So, I edged my way into the category, crossing my fingers that I was doing a good job. Which looking back now, I guess I did.

Last spring, I was told I was going to be the new sports editor. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait for the next semester to start already. I got a badge with my face on it and my official title underneath. I went to games of all kinds and travelled all across Texas. I endured a three-hour long rain delay in Cougar Stadium at the University of Houston for football. I went deep into the heart of Aggieland at College Station to watch our soccer team kick ass in an incredible game, win or lose. I sat in pristine press boxes with snacks and drinks available at all times. I flashed my press pass as I skipped long lines at the doors to enter stadiums huge and small. It was awesome. I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Thinking back, I will remember all these experiences. I was introduced to the Beaumont Enterprise’s sports editor last semester and it didn’t take long before I was writing freelance stories for them, too. I went to my first bass fishing competition. I experienced the thrill of Mid-County Madness. I also found out high school football was a whole other game than college. I suddenly lost the luxury of snacks, stat sheets and flashy press boxes. But, it taught me how to take my own stats, always prepare for cold weather and how to smuggle in snickers bars.

Being a sports editor is an amazing feeling, but knowing I am headed in the right direction is even better. Every game, win or lose, is a new experience to me. Every coach, player and team has different styles, different personalities. To talk to these people about their hopes and dreams, what they accomplished and what is still to come will always be my favorite part of being a sports writer.

In the spring, I am being promoted to managing editor, second-in-command. Apparently, I will still be sports editor as well. A couple of years ago I would never have thought I could handle it all. But that’s what experience shows me.

I can handle it all — and love it.

Story by Cassandra Jenkins, UP sports editor

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