Reflecting upon 2017 and starting the New Year strong!
2017 was a year of growth in many different ways. One in which I really used 365 days to advance personally, professionally and academically. Anyone who knows me understands I’m always trying to learn. Whether that’s reading books or seeking advice from others, my curiosity is always present. That desire to learn fueled opportunities for me to learn, which is my ultimate passion.
As I always, I feel it is very important to reflect upon the year and discuss what you hope to accomplish in the next 365 days. This post will take you through my year and the vision for 2018.
2017: A Year of Growth
My website, Vikings Corner, continued to push forward for the fifth consecutive year. The best decision I ever made was to start writing consistently. I learned what my readers enjoyed and where I could improve. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and figured I’d start learning. It all comes back to that curiosity I talked about. I’ve always wanted to try new things and pursue beneficial opportunities. Sometimes it requires packing your schedule or driving an extra two hours, but if you don’t go for the story, what might you miss out on? I don’t like to sit still and every day I want to be doing something. This year, VC covered the entire Vikings training camp during the final season in Mankato. It’s the sixth training camp I worked as a media member. The experience I’ve gained over the years has been invaluable and I’m so lucky I had the chance. Watching hundreds of practices since I’ve been five has helped me learn every single day. Writing all of the articles to go along with it was just an additional way for me to grow as a journalist. Vikings Corner is going strong and I’m thankful for all of the support it continues to receive. The Vikings are by far my favorite team to cover and the successful season has made things even more fun. Be sure to check out all my playoff content as the Vikings push through the playoffs!
In early February, I was approached with an opportunity to join GopherHole.com as a football and basketball analyst. It came by fate as my instructor at the time, Nadine Babu, was searching for a writer at GH. I was prepared to take a non-contract position to gain additional writing experience. Little did I know, this was a fantastic decision. I grew my personal brand and reached a large audience of Gopher fans across the globe. Just a month into joining, I had the chance to cover an NCAA Tournament game in Milwaukee. This definitely was a bucket list item for me after growing up watching March Madness every year and wishing I could be there as a journalist. In addition, I started getting into the recruiting side of football and continued learning by going to practices and watching P.J. Fleck and his coaches instruct players. In the process, I made more connections and crossed goals off the list. The experience with GopherHole has been excellent because of the support from everyone associated with the website.
Through the work with GH, I was presented with an offer to cover Gopher football this season for 1500ESPN in Minneapolis. The chance to cover the team for a big organization in the Twin Cities market was a long-term goal of mine. Having the chance to work with Phil Mackey, Judd Zulgad and Derek Wetmore is something I don’t take for granted. They are people I read and listened to for years in the Twin Cities sports scene. The words of advice they provide and the chance they gave me to write as a young college student is something I really appreciate. I’m truly thankful I can grow through learning from two talented professionals. In the process of covering games, I’ve met many readers and industry connections. As a mentor once told me, “it’s not what you know, but how you find.” I seek out people I can surround myself who will bring out the best in me. This has been magnified because of the opportunity to cover games as a media member.
I’ve penned so many fun stories this year, including numerous Vikings features and a 1-on-1 with former Gopher Pete Najarian. Sharing these stories is what keeps me driven every single. There is nothing I find more rewarding than talking with someone and finding a unique angle for a piece. I also have been studying the game of football more than ever. I watch coaching videos every day to improve my knowledge (Sean McVay is my new favorite to watch!). In the NFL and NCAA, the concepts are constantly evolving and I try to keep up. I watch recruiting videos and draw comparisons to other skill-sets as I try to continue developing my eye for talent. There is desire deep inside of me that wants to pursue the scouting and player development side of football in the future. It’s why I put so much time into studying and reaching out to others for opinions. Not only that, but I try to spread what I learn in unique ways for my readers to understand a different perspective. This is something I’ve always strived for when I craft content.
In 2018, I want to continue the momentum and push myself in new ways. Academically, I’ll be finishing my final three semesters and taking courses that round out my education. I’ve recently found I enjoy philosophy and theory classes, so I want to take more courses in those areas. I find myself thinking outside the box and applying those ideas to my life in subtle ways.
Professionally, I recently found out I’ll be starting 2018 by living a dream. I was approved for a Super Bowl LII credential and will be covering the entire week of festivities, including the game. The past five years of hard work have allowed me to be in the position to cover a game I’ve watched ever since I can remember. In the competitive process of applying, I’m so thankful I was given the chance. It will be an opportunity to provide unique content and meet new people from across the industry. When I found out the news, I don’t think I slept for about a week. This is truly a dream come true and the start of many Super Bowls I will cover in my future career. Perhaps a certain team in purple and gold will be there, but let’s not get the state too hyped up yet! I can’t help but think how much my grandpa would love to see my hard work pay off!
I want to thank everyone who reads my stories, along with all my mentors for helping me grow during 2017. In 2018, I want to take challenging courses, cover every event possible and push myself to develop through increasing my emotional intelligence. Covering the Super Bowl will be a great way to kick off a 2018 filled with professional, academic and personal opportunities. I know I’m going to put in more work than ever to continue making strides because that’s the only thing I know how do.