Essay: Accepting My Changing Career Goals

News editor Isabella Grosso talks about changing paths as a senior in college.

Since I was a sophomore in high school, I wanted to be a journalist.

I took my first reporting class in 2017 and fell in love with the fast pace and deadline-driven life journalism created. I felt the constantly-changing life of a journalist would be perfect for someone like me who is always looking for something new to focus time on. 

Now, as a fourth-year less than 50 days away from graduation with a degree in multimedia journalism, the spark for the profession that was once brightly lit inside me has dimmed. 

This hit me one night in October. I was laying in bed when I realized the career I wanted for seven years wasn’t the one I wanted to choose when I graduated in May. These thoughts sat with me like a pit in my stomach and were one of the hardest things I’ve come to terms with.

Part of me felt guilty, like I was letting my high school self down for not following through on her dreams. I thought to myself, “How could I have spent the last four years working towards this profession and not want to follow through with it in the end?” For weeks, I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell my parents, who have supported me all these years on my journalism journey. 

My brain was full of fears about the future. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have the courage to change my path halfway through my final year of college. I felt as though working for a paper was the only thing I could do. 

After months of these thoughts occupying space in my head, I’ve finally made peace with them. I realized my abilities translated beyond just working for a newspaper. For me, one of the wonders of life is having the courage and ability to change your path for the better — a thought which was previously a dark cloud hanging over me.

Though I no longer want to be the editor-in-chief of The New York Times, there are still aspects of the profession and lessons I’ve learned through journalism that will forever be part of my life.

Being the news editor for The Phoenix has provided me with more tools and life experience than anything I’ve done at Loyola. I know all of my experience editing, mentoring writers, running meetings, designing pages and making tough decisions in the newsroom will translate well to whatever I do.

Though I like to think my writing abilities are sharp and I’m now able to work quickly and accurately in other aspects of my life, harsh deadlines and the unpredictable nature of the field often come with anxiety. I felt constantly rushed through my days, even when I wasn’t writing or editing. 

After over three years as a student reporter and editor, I was finally able to learn how to slow down and take a breath. 

Always having the goal of putting out fair, honest and objective reporting every time I write or edit has taught me to be patient with my work. It showed me to always hear all sides of the story and never stop learning about a topic — all skills that will translate well into adulthood but also are challenging to manage when you constantly feel like you’re not doing a good enough job telling people’s stories. 

This field comes with constant criticism — something I didn’t consider when I was 16. No matter the story or the topic, someone will have an opinion about it — whether it’s good or bad. The constant flow of commentary on stories I was writing or putting out into the news section sometimes became too hard to bear. However, it taught me to decipher which comments to listen to and which ones to shake off — a skill everyone should develop to protect their peace.  

Over time, I’ve come to realize that I have control over my life, even in moments where it may seem in disarray. I have learned to treat my anxieties surrounding my future as just passing thoughts.

I now know if I’m unhappy in the future, with a job or other relationship, I can change it and make my life better. I have other outlets in life like artistic skills along with my journalistic abilities to explore further that could lead me to a new place I never thought possible. 

Journalism will always have a very special place in my heart. I have so much love for what I’ve done in the field, the people I have been lucky enough to meet and the lessons I’ve learned.

No matter where I end up, I know there will always be a reporter inside me guiding me through my future careers and endeavors. To the 16-year-old girl who wanted to be a newspaper reporter, I am sorry I’ve let you down, but I promise our talents are going to take us to extraordinary places. 

Feature image by Hunter Minné / The Phoenix

Isabella Grosso

Isabella Grosso