Senior Farewell | Conquering fears

Allie Jones (right) and her friend Kaylee Seabolt ride a double-decker bus around London during their immersive term trip January 2020.

I came to Franklin College intending to be a Multimedia Journalism major. Knowing I needed to get as much experience as possible as early as possible, I looked into working on the school’s magazine while attending my freshman activity fair. But things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Having always been an introverted, bookish homebody, I struggled to move 80 miles away from my comfort zone. Adding quite a social, fast-paced major onto my list of stressors, I spent most of my first college months flailing for some sort of stability.

So, I decided to switch my track to an English major. This isn’t to say an English major is easier or harder than a Multimedia Journalism major. More so, I was more comfortable with the challenges that came with the English major.

The main hurdle that kept me from the MMJ major my freshman year was the interviewing. But during my sophomore year, I started working for the College’s marketing department, where I interviewed people at least once a week. Eventually, even if I were never perfectly comfortable interviewing, I became less and less intimidated. The hurdle shrank to a jumpable size.

Feeling empowered, I signed up for my first journalism class since my first semester. It was John Krull’s newswriting class. In true Allie fashion, my confidence wavered after the first class. After hearing about the drill writing exercises and having to do a complete 180 with my writing style, I initially took this class as confirmation that I wasn’t cut out for reporting.

Then COVID hit. And crushed all the plans I had for 2020. After three years of playing it safe, I was determined to be daring during my senior year. My biggest risk was my plan to study abroad in Greece for a semester. For obvious reasons, the semester fell through.

Like most people, the pandemic taught me there won’t always be another opportunity. So, I used my free semester to build my MMJ minor and joined The Franklin, which I had been avoiding since my freshman year.

Granted, joining the magazine my last year in college wasn’t great timing on my part. I still had my usual list of responsibilities on top of the new task of looking for a job. So, I didn’t have as much time or energy to dedicate to The Franklin as I should have.

I’ll never forget how nervous I was to call my first interviewee for a Franklin piece. While working for the marketing department, I had a set of questions for the interviews. So, I always had a pretty good idea for how the interviews would go. But, for The Franklin, each story was different. And each set of questions were different, which meant interviews were less predictable.

Before my first interview, I reverted back to my old self where I stared at his number for 3 minutes, willing myself to press “Call.” Once my rational self won the war and I called him, I realized the worst part of an interview, for me, is the anticipation of the interview. The actual talking part is rarely that difficult.

And with every subsequent source or subject, my pre-interview anxiety grew less and less present. It’s always there. But like with any anxiety, you learn how to cope with it better.

For that reason, reporting for The Franklin has felt like the perfect marker for showing my growth at Franklin College. I started my freshman year as a kid who had a meltdown about having to visit a bank to interview someone for a class project to someone who seems to have a different interview scheduled every 30 seconds.

This evolution showed me that I can succeed in anything as long as I try. For years, I allowed myself to be too easily intimidated by everything. I took phrases like “I can’t do this” or “I can’t do that” as fact rather than insecurity.

This is lesson I’m trying to remember as I approach graduation. Applying for jobs is quite the chore, especially when you convince yourself you are unqualified for every position. But I try to remember that my freshman self never thought I would work on The Franklin. And here I am, writing my senior farewell.

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