This past week I was named one of Murray State University‘s Top 22 Under 40 Young Alumni, an honor that I am very excited to receive. I graduated from Murray State in 2005 with a degree in print journalism and a minor in equine science. I was a member of the Rodeo and Equestrian Teams (captain of MSUET my senior year), was a student-teacher in one of the Beginner Horsemanship classes, member of the award-winning Shield Yearbook as a photographer, President of the Society for Student Journalists and worked at RSEC as an usher for the Racer Basketball games.
I have always wondered what life would be like had I not attended Murray State, and the answer is always the same–it probably wouldn’t be as full as it is now. There comes a time when your choices start to really build who you are, and without choosing Murray State over Butler (thank you, Westfield High School journalism teacher Mrs. Davis), I wouldn’t have been able to hone my education so I could focus on horses AND journalism. I wouldn’t have been a member of the Rodeo and Equestrian Teams. And, I wouldn’t have the friendships and connections I have now.
You see, it was an advisor who told me, my junior year, that I couldn’t expect to graduate and go directly to working for magazines. That I had to earn my way by working for newspapers. (Mind you, this was in the day before social media was a thing…Facebook wasn’t open to Murray State until the end of my senior year in 2005. That’s right, at first Facebook was a collegiate only thing.) But I persisted. I spent just as much time at the barn as I did in the journalism building, and it wasn’t uncommon to see me in the classroom with my boots and spurs on. I met one of my close friends on the Equestrian Team, who just so happened to be a part of the cutting industry. Her parents were friends with the then-editor of the Quarter Horse News, Katie Timms. It was that connection that got me my first freelance writing gig.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I love that path that I’ve taken to build my career in the past 17 years.
I love my career.
I love Murray State.