When I first started looking at universities, WKU wasn’t really on my radar. I grew up just down the road in Scottsville, KY, and I had grown up participating in sporting events and extra curricular activities on WKU’s campus. College was supposed to be about new and exciting adventures, not familiar spaces. Then, I officially selected my major, broadcast news. With WKU’s prestigious journalism program, it didn’t make sense to go anywhere else. Today, I look back on that decision as one of the best I’ve ever made.
It was true that WKU was right in my backyard, but what I failed to realize was that backyard had no perimeter. My eyes were opened to a brand new world, full of all the excitement and adventure I had been seeking. I joined a Co-Ed Honors Fraternity called Phi Sigma Pi, and eventually became the president of that wonderful organization. We spent our spring and fall breaks going on disaster relief trips to Live Oak, Florida, Moore, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Mississippi. I got plugged into the Honor’s College, and took a study abroad trip with the Associate Dean of my college to Harlaxton Manor in beautiful, breathtaking England. I made friends from seven different countries that are still part of my life today, all the while being mentored by some of the best professionals in my field of study. They helped me excel by giving me the resources to be an anchor and reporter for a real newscast each week, a place where I could make mistakes and learn from them. Thanks to their guidance, I was able to begin working at the local TV station while I was still in college, and transition straight into a full-time job as a reporter the day after I graduated. I knew the area well after four years of being a student in the city, and in so many ways that same familiarity that I had once feared having at WKU was the very thing that allowed me to get where I am today.
A few months ago I did a story about my Alma Mater, and what it means to say “The Spirit Makes the Master.” The truth of the matter is that it means something different to everyone, but each of the meanings come back to a central lesson: no matter what you do in life, your level of success will be determined as much or more by your attitude and perseverance than the situation itself. I am thankful everyday that I changed my attitude about WKU and gave it a chance to take me from The Hilltop to the World. Go Tops!
Whitney is currently a multimedia journalist at WBKO Television in Bowling Green, the top rated station in the market. Her stories reach nearly 80,000 homes every night.