When I was first accepted to McMaster University, there were a lot of questions I asked myself before I decided to come here.
Would I have great opportunities here? Would I make friends? Would I fit in?
With all of the struggles that being a freshman in university brings, I knew that in order to find my place I had to find something I was interested in, and use that to my advantage.
My first year at the school would be the year that the McMaster football team would bring home their first ever Vanier Cup title. It made me proud to be a Marauder, and proud to have some of my friends coming home as winners. It was that year that I knew sports would be in my future.
Sports were always an interest of mine, but it wasn’t until I stepped foot onto this campus and took in my first Marauder football game that I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.
Not only did I want to learn more about my fellow athletes but I wanted to be able to learn their stories, struggles and triumphs. It fascinated me that I could connect an audience with an individual and a sport through writing and word of mouth.
After starting my second year at McMaster, a young man working for the school newspaper entered one of my lectures, advertising the opportunity to write for the paper. It was almost fate for if I had shown up any later to my class (not an unusual occurrence) I would have missed his speech and probably wouldn’t be here today.
I emailed the Silhouette right away and eventually ended up covering women’s volleyball as a volunteer writer.
Despite knowing nothing about volleyball I knew this was a great opportunity and a chance for me to do something I was passionate about.
After writing for the Sil as a weekly volunteer, the position of Assistant Sports Editor came available and after some encouraging words from many Silhouette editors I decided to apply. To my absolute delight I got the job and that began a new chapter for me on my path to a future career.
I ended up learning later on that my Senior Sports Editor and myself were the first females (in recent memory) to assume the editorial roles. It empowered me but at the same time made me nervous as I knew I had a lot to prove.
The summer before I started working at the Silhouette a documentary on ESPN caught my eye, which focused primarily on the struggles that women have faced to gain exposure and respect within the sports industry.
It amazed me that it took such a long time for females to gain acceptance into this field of work, but it also made me hopeful because so many woman before me had broken new ground and continue to do so.
After watching the full documentary I gained a new respect for the sports industry as a whole and for the people who work in sports journalism and broadcasting.
Women have come a long way and are starting to be seen in a similar light as men within this business. That to me was comforting.
Once my job with the Silhouette started I found it stressful to ensure I kept up with both my newspaper and school deadlines.
The Silhouette staff was wonderful, welcoming and always shared helpful advice when it came to learning how to manage my time accordingly.
It wasn’t until my second semester that things started to become eye-opening for me. I received a message from an individual living in the Westdale area who told me they had read the Silhouette for a number of years and had always been a fan.
The message seemed hopeful at first but then quickly became very blunt. This individual then stated that after learning that the sports editors were female that they saw the sports section in a completely different way, a way that they just simply could not comprehend. They then informed me that they refused to continue to read the section until the positions of sports editors were to be filled by two males.
It definitely woke me from the daze I was in, and I finally understood the struggle that many females before me had faced.
Many of my friends wondered why I would want to continue after receiving something of that nature, but in the end, people like that will always exist, it is simply up to you to do what you love despite what anyone else thinks.
I encourage everyone with a passion to continue on your path to success. Although there will always be people who think their opinion is going to affect you, you simple can’t let that happen.
Despite the negativity that does exist, the positive feedback the Sil has received this year has been both positive and encouraging.
It is the positives that you need to hold on to that will keep you going.
No matter what, never let go of what you love.