Tips to students

My name is Raveen Johnson. I am a 22-year-old alumnus of Sam Houston State University and a Houston, Texas native. My goal is to inform and inspire through my writing, and I am off to a good start so far. My dream is to attain my own magazine company that focuses on the arts, simply because the arts are disregarded as unimportant in today’s society. I want to be a representation of the fact that it is not a crime to follow your dreams, and it is not horrible if your dream does not make you the richest person in the world. If you have the passion, you are rich already. I hope to show my passion through my work.

I learned a great deal of key information during the five years that I spent at Sam Houston State University. While all of the different information holds it own individual value, one piece of information that I am glad I received was the suggestion to join an organization.

I know, I know—it does not sound like the most vital information to receive during your college career, right? Well I am living proof that joining an organization while living the college life is one of the most important things a student can do.

This is not to say that being a part of an organization is for everyone, but it will serve as my personal testimony. This advice is not just for freshman either. Every college student, no matter what year they are in could probably benefit from being a part of an organization in one way or another.

While at SHSU, I majored in Mass Communications with an emphasis on Print Journalism. Writing was a passion of mine, and I wanted to find any and everything that could help me hone my skills. In my search, I found out about the National Association of Black Journalists.

I was immediately interested in the meeting but was too nervous to go, so I put off joining for a couple of weeks. When I finally came to my senses and realized that I literally had nothing to lose and everything to gain, I tucked away my pride and joined NABJ.

Initially I was just a member. I paid my dues, attended meetings and events, spread the word about the meeting, and just did everything that a loyal and responsible member would do. The organization changed my life simply because I found a community of people who were interested in the same activities that I was. In a society that suggests that writing, the arts, and journalism are jobs that lead to no money, it was inspiring to see a plethora of other students who went against the grain and followed their dreams anyway.

After being a member during my freshman and sophomore year, I finally decided to go for a spot on the executive board. I became the secretary and held that position until I graduated in May 2014.

NABJ did plenty of things that helped me to prepare for what was to come on my career path. We visited various television and radio stations, toured newspaper offices, had seminars on how to perfect our resumes, and had opportunities to be hands on in the fields that we wanted to pursue.

I ended up being the Editor-In-Chief of a weekly newsletter that we teamed up with another organization to produce. I read, wrote, edited, and published different articles every week, and the newsletter received phenomenal feedback from the campus.
Now, as an alumnus, I have various jobs and internships that allow me to showcase my writing skills while still learning new tips about my field. I have long-lasting relationships with people that I would have never met had I not joined NABJ.

I encourage all college students to at least join one organization that caters to something that they are interested in. Whether that be a major, a talent, or a hobby—find an organization that pushes you out of your comfort zone and into a community of people that can possibly contribute to your growth.

I am now more confident in my writing and overall journalism skills, and if ever I need a little reassurance, I know whom I can call. Try it out!

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