Technically my career at the Telegraph Herald began as a part-time sports clerk in 2015, but my ties to the newspaper actually go all the way back to 2003.

As a senior at Wahlert Catholic High School, I wrote various articles that were included in a special section of the TH called “The Alt,” that usually ran on Wednesdays. Spearheaded by then-Features Editor Jim Swenson, the idea was to showcase some writing of the area’s youth—individuals who potentially represented the future of journalism.

And while I wouldn’t exactly call my contributions “hard-hitting journalism,” I was able to have fun with it, while also trying to build my resume. From a few columns on professional sports to film reviews and previews of upcoming events, my work presented a little bit of everything. Looking back on it now, my writing was definitely a bit raw, but I guess that’s to be expected.

What’s funny is just prior to writing my last column following my senior year, I specifically remember Jim saying to me, “feel free to come back after college for a job.” The traditional four-year college route didn’t quite work out for me, but I did complete my fair share of credits, including some additional writing courses. Turns out, I did find my way back here after all, just maybe not 100% according to plan.

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I have written on occasion since I “re-joined” the TH, mostly on one of my favorite pastimes, bowling, but my main responsibilities have been more behind-the-scenes.

After helping out in the sports department for a number of years, I was promoted in September 2018 to full-time news clerk. My main duty involves gathering and inputting obituaries, but if you’ve seen sections such as our community calendar, Sunday business briefs or lunch menus (just to name a few), I’ve had a hand in compiling those, too. It’s not the glorious job that comes with a byline and front-page headlines, but, as with any team, every one of us within the company plays his or her own role.

Similar to my educational path, I can’t exactly say this is how I envisioned jumping into the world of journalism. But everyone has to start somewhere, and the great thing about my job is that I’m always being encouraged to seek out new opportunities and challenges.

It remains to be seen what that next challenge will be, but I can promise you these last five years have put me in a better spot to conquer it.