Like some other college students, I will be ending my collegiate career in a different place than where I started it. Towards the end of my first year as a nursing major at Seton Hall University, I realized that while I respect the profession, I could not find joy in doing that work for the rest of my life.
I then realized that I spent so much time in high school listening to what other people said were “good” and “smart” choices in regards to a career, that I let it shy me away from pursuing what I was passionate about.
When I started practicing photography in high school, I was told that I had a good eye, but I could never make any money from it. I was also not sure how to use it as a medium to serve a bigger purpose beyond self-expression, which is why I never pursued it as a career then.
Before my sophomore year at SHU, I switched majors from nursing to journalism, finally feeling like I chose a career that I wanted to do. I gravitated towards journalism for its basis of telling stories of real perspectives and truths that inform readers about their community.
I then joined The Setonian as a Staff Writer and a Staff Photographer to get additional experience. It further confirmed that this is what I was meant to do, and I was made better because of it.
It was then that I found my true calling as a Visual Journalist that primarily uses photography, video and writing to report. All of this led me to becoming Photography Editor, with the goal of improving The Setonian’s photography by having it not as an afterthought of our original reporting, but a part of the overall reporting process.
A study published in the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, found that professional photojournalism is graphically appealing, emotional, and intimate, while photos taken by non-professionals are more so informational.
As Photography Editor, I have been doing my best to represent these aspects of professional photojournalism in my work and constantly encourage the entire photography staff to do so as well. As I am approaching graduation in May, I firmly believe that we have met my original goal in addition to practicing these aspects, and it will continue to improve beyond my time.
Please take your time in choosing what career you want to pursue by trying things out from a basis of what you already truly feel passionate about and build upon it as you learn more. I am grateful and proud that I was able to do this as a part of The Setonian.
Sarah Yenesel is a journalism major with a visual and sound media minor from Morristown, N.J. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.