As I sat down to write my graduation column for The Signpost, I couldn’t think of just one thing to say about my college experience.

Making it to college graduation is so surreal for me. I can't wait to graduate with a Bachelor in Communications.
Making it to college graduation is so surreal for me. I can't wait to graduate with a bachelor's in Communication. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

My whole life has been about proving to myself that I am where I am supposed to be and that I am not a failure. I always wanted to have one thing that I was good at, but I have realized that I have lots of ideas and talents to share.

My whole life has been about school. Seriously, I have loved (98% of the time) school since the moment I went to pre-school.

Later in my schooling career, things got tough for me. The pressures of being a teen, a girl and the oldest child were rough. But for most of the past 18-20 years that I have been in school, it’s been enjoyable.

I have always loved learning and I am a perfectionist, so I bet you can imagine how hard I pushed myself to be the best.

In high school, I took concurrent enrollment classes because I just knew I was going to college. There was no rule in our family that I had to get a degree; there was no one really telling me what to do. I had been taught that education and learning were a priority, and I felt my place was in a college setting.

I took the ACT five times in high school because I wasn’t happy with my score. I suffered through studying and prayed that I could get a high enough score to place in Math 1050 so I could get a scholarship.

I stressed so much in high school about getting good grades and high scores that I wasn’t embarrassed about and fitting in instead of having faith that my abilities were enough.

I learned a lot about myself in my first three semesters of college at Utah Valley University and where I could truly turn to for help and what I was capable of.

Seeing my work in The Signpost is a amazing feeling and I am glad that I was able to contribute to campus in a small way.
Seeing my work in The Signpost is an amazing feeling and I am glad that I was able to contribute to campus in a small way. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

I’ve always been religious, and in these semesters of college, I really came to understand where I fit, and as I look back, I see so many instances of when God was guiding my life.

When I started out, I truly had no idea what major I was going to choose. I didn’t want to make a mistake and pick the wrong degree or end up “wasting” precious time on figuring out what I wanted to pursue.

I knew that I liked learning about other people, and writing was something I had always thought I was good at, but I didn’t want to be a writer.

My family told me that I should just trust in my Heavenly Parents and go forward doing something I thought was beneficial. I still struggled to find what that was.

In my third semester, my husband and I were dating long distance, and I planned to take the spring semester of 2019 off so we could plan our wedding.

I cried about leaving the school that felt so right and that God had placed me in to meet so many people and learn some of the most important lessons of my life.

When searching for schools in high school, I always discounted Weber because it wasn’t big enough or fancy enough for my dreams. When I was getting ready to move back home and closer to my now husband, I searched the majors at WSU and multimedia journalism really struck me.

I had lots of social anxiety and wasn’t sure I could be a journalist. E-mailing with Jean Norman was a crucial moment in my college career. Jean encouraged me to apply for The Signpost, and she was more helpful than my other advisers had ever been. I trusted her and took a leap of faith to be a reporter for The Signpost.

Now, here I sit almost four years later as the managing editor.

The relationships that I have made with The Signpost editor will forever impact my life.
The relationships that I have made with The Signpost editors will forever impact my life. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

In my time at Weber, I have seen so many places where God helped me to end up at The Signpost, at Weber State, working with the people I do and learning some valuable skills from my time here.

Talking to people has never been my strength; in fact, during high school, I would have rather died than speak to the class or interview anyone. I felt judged and had panic attacks about people talking about me behind my back or if I would say the wrong thing.

After my first little while as a reporter, I realized that I could do this. My writing started to improve, and I was covering some interesting topics that sparked my passion for writing again.

Through my time as a communication major, I found that I was the mediator that gave some people a voice. Everyone has a voice; I was just there to help amplify it.

Through my college experience my faith and God has helped me to get where I am today. My husband has supported me through my education.
Through my college experience my faith and God have helped me to get where I am today. My husband has also supported me through my education. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

While you may not share the same beliefs as me, I have truly been able to see the best in people from truly listening to them. I have seen how much joy and faith and love each person can have.

I’ve been able to write about the pandemic, something that I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

I created the idea for a translation issue of The Signpost where I wrote about campus diversity and had our staff and friends translate it into four other languages.

I have written columns about working and being a female, updates on the BRT that has taken over campus and many more events. Most recently, I had the chance in my investigative journalism class to talk about students with disabilities and how they navigate on our campus.

While my time in college has not all been a walk in the park, I have met some of my greatest friends along the way. I have got to see so many in our office grow to be great reporters and great leaders. I have seen so much growth in myself.

My college experience started out at UVU and I made some really influential friends and learned valuable lessons.
My college experience started out at UVU and I made some really influential friends and learned valuable lessons. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

Later in my degree, I decided to add a minor in family studies. This has really opened my eyes to how those who are different from me see the world.

My personal belief is that we are all connected and that each of us has a light inside that we need to share. Interviewing people, learning from professors and just being on campus has shown me so many individuals that I have truly come to love.

I have no doubt in my mind that me finding my passion for sharing truth, other perspectives as well as wanting to connect with families and individuals on a deeper level is divinely inspired.

I have been blessed to gain friendships from my time at UVU as well as WSU. I have learned more about myself and what my purpose is in this life.

Working with friends at The Signpost has been one of my most memorable experiences at WSU.
Working with friends at The Signpost has been one of my most memorable experiences at WSU. Photo credit: Marisa Nelson

Sharing my opinion hasn’t always been my strength — it still isn’t — but I am learning that within reason, I have the right to share my story, just like I have been sharing others’ all along. I know that my path for myself will not turn out exactly how I want it to, but it will turn out exactly how it is supposed to.

Although I don’t know exactly what my next step in life is, I am going to try and worry less about taking the right step, and just as I did when joining The Signpost, take a leap of faith and trust that I will be guided as I have been before.

Thank you to those who have helped me to see the good in myself and pushed me to be a better version of me. I will appreciate you more than you will ever know. Much love.

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