Embrace the hard years, accept experiences

Image received by text on the night of the WPA 2018 conference informing Piper of her award.

More often than not, as the end of my sophomore year of college approaches, I find myself daydreaming of the future and wishing that I could skip past college, the internships and the many years of extreme trial and error.

However, one of life’s greatest ironies is that nothing ever comes served on a platter and anything worth achieving will be earned, not handed.

Of all the information my high school teachers tried to ingrain into the brains of my fellow seniors and I about college, the one piece of information that has stuck with me, and that I’ve found unbelievably true, is that college is not just school, it’s a job. It wasn’t designed to build lazy workers and limited thinkers.

Sure, we no longer go to class eight hours a day, five days a week. But unless you plan on failing, most college students are either studying countless hours in the library, or working a minimum wage job to have just enough money to pay for rent and food in their downtime.

It seems insane to me what college students are willing to go through to chase their dreams. The thought of dropping out and becoming a flight attendant has crossed my mind more times than I can count, but every day I wake up and remember that I have other aspirations along with low-key anxiety when flying 39,000 feet in the air.

College is truly an investment in a person’s future, and eventually once we get past semester finals and late nights spent catching up on overdue homework, it will pay off. In fact, it already has.

I recently found out that a sports feature I wrote for my hometown’s newspaper, The News Letter Journal, won a pacemaker award from the Wyoming Press Association. Up to that point, it felt like any article I had wrote was simply taking up space on the internet.

Now I know that all the articles I had to write beforehand weren’t just taking up space; they were building blocks.

Surprisingly, it took me this long to realize Shaun White didn’t step on a snowboard and earn a gold medal. President Barrack Obama didn’t give one political speech and get elected president. Tom Brady isn’t labeled the GOAT because of his chiseled jaw or ability to deflate a football.

I, Jenna Piper, did not write one article and become a Pulitzer prize winner.

Every one of those individuals has put in countless hours into their passion. No one but White felt his numerous wipeouts, and no one but Obama experienced his loss for a congressional seat in 2000. But, it never stopped them from becoming extremely prosperous in their professions.

Patience, I have learned, is key to the believing of a brighter future. Unfortunately, my generation for the most part has little to no patience and assumes that after earning a college degree they’re going to become the CEO of the next greatest technology company. Not saying that it hasn’t happened, but who really wants to be Mark Zuckerberg anyway?

I have made peace with the fact that I am a young pup in a world full of big dogs, and in order to get on their level, I am going to have to write numerous articles and experience more rejection from sources who refuse to call me back. I will have to endure internships where I will be at the bottom of the barrel, but gain invaluable experience at the same time.

So, as I sit on my laptop typing about the latest news at Laramie County Community College eating ramen noodles, I will be grateful for all that I have experienced and continue to be motivated to be the best journalist I can be in this world.


  1. Pingback: Spring 2018 Portfolio – PiperGirl Blog

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