by Danche Azmanova

People say that when you are 25 years old, you don’t know what you want from life. Well… that is really not my case.

Since I was 5 years old, I knew I wanted to become a journalist. I started small in the local television in my hometown in Macedonia, Strumica,  and I continued to work for several major media in Skopje, the capital city. I always had in my mind that we have to start locally and prosper on a national level, but always think globally. This is what motivated me when I when I “sailed” in the journalistic ocean to the Alfred Friendly program.

I never imagined myself that one day I will visit America not as a tourist, but as a professional who came here to maximize her potential as a journalist and improve skills. Being here in Columbia, Missouri, starting my day with a big cup of coffee, plenty of notebooks in my hands and reading the Columbia Missourian newspaper before class feels really like college.

But it is totally not the same. This feeling changed when we were introduced to the Missouri Method, a style of hands-on learning through real-world journalism exposure. I wish I knew that method when I was doing my journalism studies. Back then, I was the best student of my generation. But, when I graduated, I felt that I really did not know anything when it comes to journalism. The practical knowledge was missing. I had to find a way to fill in the gap created by my studies. I focused on the non-formal education, building my mental muscles day after day.

It has been more than one week since I came to Missouri. As time passes, I am becoming more aware that being a journalist is the best choice for me. Yes, salaries in my country are quite low. Yes, the hours can be long and irregular. Yes, the industry is going through its worse period. But maybe that is the challenge I was looking for. Let’s hold on to that.

At the end of the day, in journalism, it is all about the experience. That is why I am here. Maybe this is my call. To gain knowledge from the best professors, editors, and media professionals, to learn according to the Missouri method. In the oldest journalism school in the world, a dream coming true.  Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world. If that is your aim, too, journalism is a more immediate short-term machine gun for you.