Class of: 2015
After graduating from Carroll in 2015 with an English degree and a restless heart, I moved to Chicago to pursue a Master's degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
For a kid who grew up in New Hampshire and grew wiser (depending on who you ask) in Helena, Chicago marked a significant shift in my personal and professional life.
The grand landscapes and striking mountains to which I was accustomed were replaced by urban sprawl and skyscrapers.
Carroll's curriculum—marked by great literature, textual analysis, and creative writing assignments—was replaced by a one-year, fast-paced graduate journalism program in which I quickly became a beat reporter, political correspondent, photographer, and a published magazine contributor.
In Chicago I have reported on Syrian refugees, undocumented immigrants, education, religion, politics, and even Donald Trump (yes, he gets his own category, and yes, I contributed to the unfortunate mass media storm that has put The Donald atop every news feed and television broadcast.)
While life as a journalist in the country's third largest city is vastly different than my too-few days at Carroll, I attribute much of my preparedness for graduate school to the lessons I learned from Carroll's English department.
I learned early on at Carroll that strong imagery is at the heart of any good writing—be it fiction, poetry, or longform journalism. I learned that adverbs should be used sparingly. I learned that brevity is the soul of wit and that revision, while often frustrating and sometimes dull, is where the best writers grow.
I wish I’d learned that being within a 10-foot radius of the 2016 presidential candidates could rob a mild-mannered reporter of his optimistic worldview. But ultimately at Carroll I learned how to work hard—very hard—and how to grow as a writer.
My degree in English provides a solid foundation for journalism. Still, I am confident that no matter what post-graduation direction I go, my Carroll education will serve me well.
Carroll’s English department is housed within a school that challenged me to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Beyond my major, I am thankful for the countless opportunities Carroll offered.
When not reflecting on my time at Carroll, I like to ski, hike, play music and tennis, and pray that the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.
Note: God answered Jay's prayers on November 3, 2016 with the Cubs' capturing their first World Series title in 108 years.