How journalism has improved my anxiety

Anxiety felt like it came out of nowhere for me. When I was 14 years old, suddenly everything felt like a daunting task.

I mean everything. Going to school, going to practice and going to work.

Megan Kane, Agora Editor
(Photo by Lexi Greenwood)

There was nothing I hated more than new things. Driving was my biggest fear for so many years. I avoided trying anything new. I didn’t get my license until long after everyone else did. 

My anxiety would keep me up at night thinking about what the next day had in store for me. 

Naturally, I tried my best to avoid all of the things that scared me. But, that’s not a realistic way for anyone to live.

By diving head first into journalism during my first year of college, I learned that I had to start saying “yes” more.

As I said, I absolutely despised new things, and everything about college was new.

I started a new job as the editor of the Agora, and I was so scared. However, the leap of faith I took by ignoring my anxiety has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Throughout the several journalism classes I took, I had to drive to many places I had never driven to before for assignments.

For most people, driving somewhere new seems simple, especially with GPS, but in my mind, it is a terrifying task that will keep me up the night before. 

Each time I drove somewhere new for an assignment, it got easier.

Taking photos at events used to be very nerve-wracking for me, but now I don’t think twice about it.

Approaching people for interviews wasn’t easy at first, but I have talked to so many new people on the phone and in person, and each time feels more natural.  

Interviewing is often the part of journalism that most students, including myself, dread at first. It’s intimidating to be persistent when contacting people. Emails, phone calls, and in-person contact are frequently needed in order to get interviews for a story.

The reward of seeing my stories come together has helped me realize all the work I’ve put in has been worth it.

Being a journalist requires confidence in yourself. It means you have to talk to a lot of people, traveling all over, and frequently not having much time to prepare for the assignments thrown at you. 

My education and future career have both taught me I have to venture outside of my comfort zone.

I have realized that all of the “scary” new things I said “yes” to have been worth it. 

Whether the outcome has been a successful news story or being able to sleep peacefully the night before I have to drive somewhere far, it has been so rewarding. 

Improving anxiety is not an easy task that anyone can do on their own. If you are struggling with anxiety, please speak to your healthcare provider for professional help. 

My happiness has majorly improved since I have been able to take control of my life again.

I encourage you to do the same. There is a world out there that is full of new adventures for you. Try the “scary” new thing.