Last week, I got the opportunity to travel with the men’s volleyball team to New York as a reporter for the Campus Times. Not only was I ecstatic about being given such an amazing assignment, but I got the chance to travel to the Big Apple.
The feeling consumed me. I could not previously remember being so excited, and at the same time so scared. Not only were my articles going to be read by my peers, I was sending my stories to the Inland Valley Times (of the Los Angeles Times). Anxiety, restlessness, and nervousness consumed me.
Every night before the trip I would lay awake to thoughts of my computer crashing, being mugged on the subway on the way to the game, or sleeping through the game having coming off a red eye flight. I would fall asleep only to be awaken by sounds of uneasiness rumbling in my belly. “Oh my GodI can’t do this,” consumed my self-doubting brain.
A few days passed, yet the feeling had not. I swallowed those thoughts as my fellow travelers and I culminated in the lobby of the Arts and Communications Building last Sunday night. Uneasiness filled me, I had dug myself into the journalistic underworld I feared.
There was no way out now. I began to resent myself for having ever expressed interest in the trip.
On the flight, I sat awake surrounded by sleeping, snoring drones who were making me nervous.
The flight attendant asked, “Can I get you anything?” I answered, “A Coke, please.” What was I thinking? It was three o’clock in the morning and I am asking for a caffeinated beverage, I was never going to get rest before the game. I was started to shake.
“Collect yourself,” were the words that were echoing through my head. “Pull it together.”
Landing at JFK to sound of rain hitting the plexi-glass, I almost spewed. This was it, my big professional debut. In ten short hours I would be pounding out the words “kill” and “attack” on my laptop (volleyball terminology, of course). That is if I remembered how to write. Suddenly, my fingers went numb.
The hour taxi ride from JFK to our hotel provided the same amount of relief a rolaid offers, but still not enough.
I stared through the rain washed windows, at the most amazing city I had ever stepped foot in, and that was the last bit of comfort I would feel until the end of my excursion.
Those first ten hours flew by, as I found myself sitting on the bleachers at NYU. The Shaggy classic “It Wasn’t Me,” blared over the speakers, as I sat encased in what felt like 200 degree heat, contemplating possible leads and carefully reviewing the stats with the motivational words of friends and family running through my head.
Finally, I thought in a panic, it was the end of game one. Now, I quickly realized, it was time to interview.
I must admit that my memory of the following few minutes is a blur. I had an anxiety hangover, and I only remember walking to my laptop and pounding out my story. Done. Sent to the Times. “It is out of my hands now,” I thought.
I was victorious. Lord knows it was not a prize-winning story, but it was done. Completed. Sent.
Obsessive-compulsive qualities aside, this experience taught me not to doubt myself.
Things have a way of working themselves out, and in the long run, these worries made me a stronger person.
Amanda Stutevoss, a junior television broadcasting/journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.