Jake Fox is a senior journalism major and writes "What the Fox says" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I took my first steps on campus at Ball State three-and-a-half short years ago, I didn’t even want to be there. My heart was set on somewhere else.
Every college kid wants their freedom, to get away from home and meet a new crowd somewhere else. That somewhere for me was Butler. I visited the campus in Indianapolis when I was a senior at Alexandria-Monroe High School, and I left that day knowing I wanted to be a Bulldog.
It was an hour away from home (the perfect distance, in my mind), seemed to have a good journalism program and had a prestigious basketball team for me to root for. What else could I have asked for?
But for one reason or another, that didn’t work out. In the back of my mind I knew it probably wouldn’t, but I was still bummed. And being the stubborn, immature kid I was, I tried to ignore my parents every time they tried to get me to look at another school.
On a whim, I decided to go to Ball State. And it has turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.
Truth be told, I didn’t really know what to expect. My high school graduating class was 82, so coming to a school with 20,000+ was a little intimidating to say the least.
I stayed in my own little bubble first semester. I didn’t make a lot of new friends and went home almost every weekend. I went home for Winter Break knowing something was missing from my life.
This is why I didn’t want to come here, I remember thinking to myself.
Everything changed when I had to go to the CCIM SuperParty for a class. As I walked back and forth through the halls of the Art and Journalism Building, looking for someone nice enough to interview for a story, I was approached by someone from the Ball State Daily News.
The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve worked with the Daily News for three years now as a sports writer, managing editor and everything in between.
I wanted to be a broadcaster coming into college. But I started to believe in myself as a writer working with the Daily News, and my classes reinforced that belief. I’ve been fortunate enough to win some awards for my writing.
Getting involved with the journalism department at Ball State has been that missing piece for me. I’ve met some of my very best friends in this major, and have good relationships with a lot of the faculty members. I’ve been provided with more opportunities over the past three years than I could have ever imagined.
I got to take a last-second trip over spring break to Los Angeles, and interview Team USA athletes in Beverly Hills. I got to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August to cover the Olympic Games. Seriously? Very few professionals get to do that.
And those are just a few of many examples.
Ball State forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and I found out who I am and who I want to be in the process.
Hard to believe there was a time I didn’t want to go here. Even harder to believe I’m graduating this month.
I’m going to miss this place. It’s become my home. I’ve met so many great people at Ball State, and they all mean a lot to me. I couldn’t have accomplished all of this in three-and-a-half years without those people, or my parents who live just 25 minutes down the highway.
I don’t know yet where life will take me after graduation, but this time I’m ready, and know what to expect. So for that I thank you, Ball State.
As I take my last steps on campus as a student from now until next Saturday, there’s no place I’d rather be.