Even from a young age, I always knew I wanted to pursue higher education. While my father never truly completed his college education, my mother got her bachelor’s degree, and both of them had, and still have, high expectations for me. Not going to college was never an option for me not only because of my unusually high intelligence as a child but also—mainly—because of my independence and passion to do something that mattered. Without the right preparation through a college education, how would I be able to accomplish something that could touch the lives of others as well as help me feel fulfilled? I’ve always known I had to do something that mattered, something bigger than myself, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there.
Fortunately, during my high school experience, I found a way to do just that. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I joined my school’s student-run newspaper, the Jefferson City High School Red and Black. Originally, I was only supposed to be on hand as an extra photographer—sophomores almost never get in, especially not the ones without prior experience in journalism. All I knew was how to write somewhat well, and I had a vague knowledge of how to operate a camera. In the span of just a month, however, I discovered a passion for journalism within me that pushed me to be better in everything I did. Looking back on this, it’s just a minor achievement in the overall timeline of my high school career, but it’s what helped me to discover my true goal and the path I want to take in life.
I have had to face many obstacles to get to where I am now. I am the child of a single mother who has two teenage children and can’t really afford to pay for my college at all. On top of this, I am naturally disadvantaged because I am a woman and also a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, so I can easily be discriminated against. I am in college now because of the hard work I have done to earn scholarships, the saved money from working various jobs as a teenager, and the job I currently have.
For as long as I can remember, one of my goals has always been to create or do something that touched the lives of other people for the better. I’ve found that my passion toward that goal is fulfilled through journalism. When I write, I have a voice and the opportunity to say and do important things with my given platform, and I want to use this platform to the best of my ability. Part of this goal is to make the world a better place, whether that be raising awareness for important issues, documenting important moments in history, or simply allowing other people’s voices to be heard.
We are proud to announce Madi Baughman is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.