Philosophy means the love of wisdom, and I think that is a fundamental part of who I am - Michelle Allenberg
Four years ago I would not have thought I would be an editor at a newspaper.
In high school I had my mind set on being a lawyer and I excelled in law class. I went to university and studied philosophy hoping this degree would fine tune my argumentative skills and give me the right groundwork to build my career.
A Love of Studying Philosophy
Once I started studying the great philosophers, from Socrates to Camus, I fell in love and was sure I had finally found something to be really passionate about. I enjoyed all of my classes and really dreamed about being a philosopher. I never saw myself being a teacher or professor, so that was never an option for me, but at the time I couldn’t see myself doing anything other than philosophy. However, I found it very limiting in what I could do for a career if I wanted to stay in this field.
I completed my honours degree in 2010 and didn’t know what step to take next and so I applied to do my masters in philosophy. Maybe I was lucky I wasn’t accepted to the two programs to which I applied. I had to really rethink what I was going to do as a career.
From Philosophy to Self-Exploration
For two years after graduation I worked in customer service. I even worked at a law firm as a law clerk and hated every moment of it. I thank the stars I didn’t go to law school and waste valuable time and money on something I now know I would have hated. I was told by friends and family to work at factories or as an administrative assistant, but nothing appealed to me. I was beginning to feel hopeless and anxious about my future and I began to think about going back to school. I knew I loved philosophy, and I still do, but I was coming to terms with the idea that the only option for me was to be a professor if I wanted to eat and breathe it.
I spent a few months talking to close friends and family and really reflecting on life and what was important to me. I had always been creative, whether it was painting, writing, or drawing. I started writing poetry when I was in high school and never really thought much about it. I thought about all the different jobs I dreamed of doing when I was a child, from actor to combat journalist, and that’s when things started to make sense to me.
I was always artistic and felt the most at ease doing something creative. I also had an intense passion for the world and for knowing what was happening in the world. Even at about eight or nine I had admired and wondered what it would be like to be a combat journalist. I think that appealed to me because I grew up in South Africa during a tumultuous time when civil war was rampant throughout the country. I had watched apartheid end in South Africa and even as a child I wanted to know what was happening and what it all meant.
Discovering my Passion for Journalism
With my thirst for knowledge and my creative side it started to make sense that I go back to school for journalism. In 2012 I was accepted to the Journalism program at Niagara College in Ontario and was excited to learn more about this new career path.
I loved journalism, every aspect, from writing to taking photographs. I finally found a career that I was interested in. I began an internship at the end of the 2014 semester. The internship was part of the journalism program that we had to complete before we could graduate. During my second week at Magpie Media, where I was completing my internship, I was offered a job at a newspaper. I had applied for a position as a politics and oil sands reporter, but was told the job was no longer available. However, I was then asked to interview for a news editor position. I was not expecting that and was nervous. I had two days to prepare for a completely different interview, but I was excited. I
would be able to do design and layout which I had really enjoyed in school. I was so excited to start a whole new chapter in my life.
I have been at the newspaper for almost eight months now and I love it. I never thought I would be an editor, but I enjoy the different aspects of journalism I get to experience on a day to day basis. On a daily basis I get to do design, layout, copy editing and photo editing. I also have the freedom to take photos and write editorials for the newspaper. I think my career is still evolving and I still hope to be the war journalist I once dreamed of being, but I’m enjoying the journey.
I don’t think I would be where I am today if I had not taken philosophy. Philosophy means the love of wisdom, and I think that is a fundamental part of who I am. If I didn’t have a love of wisdom I would not be a journalist. I have always wanted to learn more and know the truth, so I know that philosophy lead me to my career now. It has helped shape me and prepare me for anything life throws my way.
Michelle Allenberg is a news editor at Fort McMurray Today. Allenberg previously worked for Niagara News and Magpie Media in Ontario. For more information visit her website http://www.michelleallenberg.com/ (click link here).