Millions have gathered around the world to stand in solidarity for Charlie Hebdo and freedom of the press. From unity marches in Paris to #JeSuisCharlie, the world’s response to terror has been anything but terror.
And while I hope the legacy of this moment is not soon forgotten, I wonder if it’s time to lace up and get to walkin’ the talk again.
I may not be a cartoonist, but I certainly sorrow after today’s attack on journalism in Paris.
As I finalized my video submission for my 2015 Win A Trip with Nick Kristof application this morning, I caught wind of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and couldn’t help but click the “Submit” button with even greater pride than I had been anticipating.
This response is not out of character for me. Adversity has pushed me into success for my entire life. An exceptionally nasty divorce in middle school propelled me into straight-A studies. My family’s resulting low-income status pushed me to help organize holiday packages for those in similar financial situations. And these minor setbacks have led me to empathize with chronic despair and poverty on a global level.
In my opinion, it is curiosity that has fueled the most captivating interviews, captured the most intriguing photographs and generally produced the best journalism.
The trouble is, however, that sometimes I try to suppress that curiosity. Instead of turning it into an asset for innovation, I often find myself throwing out the idea altogether. Curiosity can be intimidating.
When my original project idea fell through for a very large journalism assignment, I experienced those 15 seconds of panic when one asks themselves whether or not they are pursuing the right life path.
Somehow, I haven’t outgrown that question. At 20-years-old, my best girlfriends and I still ask each other nonchalantly…
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I’m starting to be more okay with the fact that I don’t know. I’m not really sure what I want to be. It’s scary. But it’s scarier to imagine locking myself into to a career of TV broadcasting or daily crime reporting without allowing myself to learn, imagine, and apply outside of those boundaries.
In the immediate now, I’m finding it easier to think about how I want to be when I grow up. What qualities do I want to possess? What skills do I want to market? These questions leave my career options wide open, while still narrowing my focus for today.