Making leaps for your future self.
My junior year of high school, I came to a four-day summer camp workshop hosted by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. I met a few professors and worked on some hands-on broadcasting and media projects. That experience planted a seed and solidified my vision—I knew I wanted to come to Nebraska for college. It was an easy decision.
Throughout high school, I was the “Sports Broadcast Announcer Guy,” which led me to choose sports media and communication as my major. After the first semester, I changed my major to broadcast production. I wanted to redefine myself. I came to college knowing that I wanted to grow and explore my other interests. Being at Nebraska has helped make that happen. I’ve been able to learn more about different aspects of journalism, think more critically about media and take an exciting variety of classes.
My job with NSE paid off huge. It was exactly what I needed at the time. I needed that push to meet new people and learn to be a leader; NSE challenged me. During those two months, I learned more about myself. I had the chance to share my experience with incoming students to help them with their transition to college and quell any concerns.
NSE is not just a tour. We want to provide a shared experience and set students up for success right off the bat. We’re there to encourage them to connect with each other and have fun. I wanted to make new students feel like they belonged at Nebraska, like it’s their home away from home. It’s all about finding POWER—purpose, ownership, wellbeing, engagement and relationships.
I’m the kind of person who takes an interest and runs with it. I discovered that my friends on campus liked to play poker, so we started playing in the dorms at Harper Hall residence for fun. The game created a great opportunity to connect with new people. We thought, “You know, I’m sure there are other people that would enjoy a community like this.” We then went to the ASUN office to start forming UNL Poker Club.
We had nine people at first, and we just kept growing from there. We created a community that’s just about having a good time and blowing off steam with some fun competition. At its core, it’s a social game. I made friends, connections and great memories that I’ll carry with me throughout the rest of my life. During NSE, I would tell students and their parents, “I know a poker club sounds silly, but it’s proof that you can do whatever you want here, even if it seems silly.” This experience brought me a job opportunity!
A friend that I met through the Poker Club is a photographer for PokerNews. She was looking for someone to photograph the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas for eight weeks. At the time, my photography skills were a bit rusty, but my academic advisor said it was an opportunity that I shouldn't pass up. I spent eight weeks in Las Vegas gaining new technical photography skills. After graduation, I'm returning to PokerNews as a full-time photographer!
All the experiences I’ve had continue to build upon each other, whether it’s starting a podcast in my dorm room with friends or photographing a poker tournament. When it comes to storytelling, I’m now better at communicating peoples’ experiences through photography, videography, writing and podcasting.
Jacht [a student-run advertising agency through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications] has been a huge confidence builder for me as I look to the future. I chose to apply for Jacht as a videographer because I wanted client-based experience, and I wanted to finish off my senior year with a challenge. I had teamwork and communication skills, but serving clients and offering advertising advice was a different beast. Working through that challenge and learning new skills has been vital to broadening my perspective and exposure. It's the same reason why you take ACE courses—to experience something different and learn something new.
My social media internship with Husker Sports Network Radio allowed me to learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspects of radio. I collaborated with a social team to expand their reach and create a consistent strategy to promote content. I also developed broadcast graphics for the radio show as they transitioned to video. The internship was unexpected, and I’m glad I gained that extra experience.
Whatever you want to do with your time at Nebraska, you’re guaranteed to have support. Don’t hold yourself back; any experience that you say yes to can lead to other opportunities down the road. The point of college is self-discovery. This time is for you; it’s not for anyone else. Try something new and let yourself have fun with it!