Author Mandy Hale once wrote, “When life brings you full circle, pay attention. There’s a lesson there.”
In the past two weeks, I have found myself in a “full circle” set of circumstances. My mother took a job with The South Alabamian in 1993 when I was 16 years old. For the next two years, I spent most of my after school hours and summers rolling quarters from the paper dispensers, stuffing football programs and placing advertising inserts into the newspaper. The business always interested me, especially the reporting and photography sides of it. By the time I entered college, I was fairly certain that I would become a journalist.
Unfortunately, I allowed a well-meaning advisor to convince me that the Internet and digital media would soon take over and that I needed to seek a different field. I chose the human service and counseling fields and had many wonderful, frustrating and unbelievable experiences while working in these fields.
This led me into the classroom where I was allowed to teach writing to high school students. I absolutely loved this part of my journey. I did not mind the proofreading, the grading, or the individual writing conferences with students that served to challenge them to write better. I still wrote daily in notebooks and occasionally on my laptop at home, but I’d only been published one time— in the Alabama WMU’s 125th anniversary publication. Until April 28, I had not considered pursuing another career.
This was the day that former SA editor Rick Couch and I were having a text conversation and I jokingly typed, “Tell your boss that I can write good (sic) and take a pretty decent picture.”
My phone then rang and Rick encouraged me to submit a resume’ and stated he had full faith that I could handle the job. Later that night, publisher Jim Cox called and we set up an interview.
Being granted the opportunity to do this job as feature writer and reporter is a dream come true for me and I am thankful that Mr. Jim was willing to give a rookie writer a chance to live her dream.
As I have reflected on the first week on the job, I thought about the many people I met and the various experiences I witnessed throughout the first week.
Last week, I met a couple that has been married 67 years, attended JPD recognition, was present at the opening of a new business, observed two classes earning their diplomas and celebrated Disney Day with the sweetest people at Jackson Health Care Facility. I experienced all of this in addition to getting to know new co-workers and meeting people from all walks of life and learning about deadlines and other job requirements.
I am no longer rolling quarters or stuffing programs (although I will if necessary); however, I am extremely grateful for the lessons I am learning as my career has come full circle.
My lessons include realizing the strong sense of community that unites the city of Jackson, acknowledging that it feels great to be home, meeting various members of the community and attempting to remember their names.
Most importantly, I am learning to correctly use the writing skills and photography skills that I possess to contribute to an excellent publication.
Thank you, Jackson, Leroy and surrounding areas for the warm welcome that I have received in just one week. I look forward to getting to know you and your stories.
Please call me at 251-246- 4494 or email me at shannonSAnews@gmail.com to let me know more about you and the stories that you have to share.
I can hardly wait to meet you and I am so glad that I paid attention when my life came full circle.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.