All my life, I feel like I’ve been jet-propulsioned into positions for which I felt less than equipped.
When my baby sister was born, I was shoved into the middle child role well before I was ready to accept the challenges and blessings that position in the family granted. As a now-recognized extrovert, I relish in the gift my parents bestowed upon me with my sister in 1996, as I was never by myself growing up.
Fast forward to seventh-grade Ashleigh, where I was chosen, by default, to participate as one of four junior ushers for eighth-grade graduation that year. My best friend, at the time and to this day, still outdoes me in every academic and creative function. She rightfully earned the spot but had a dance recital that weekend and couldn’t commit to fulfilling the honor of donning the coveted white robe.
In each of my four years at Biola University, I was thrust into positions at the campus newspaper for which I felt completely unprepared.
Photography intern, then staff photographer, then web photo editor and finally managing editor of the paper.
I felt like I had barely started navigating a digital camera, and now I was in charge of overseeing staff while my counterpart and editor-in-chief, Anna Frost, dug into the stories with a red pen and preached AP Stylebook edits to young journalists on production night.
Despite my insecurities and lack of confidence in my skills, journalism professor and fact-checking master Michael Longinow chose me out of the crowd and offered me the managing editor position.
Now, just three years removed from that experience and still feeling mediocre, I’ve been hired as the editor for The Sheridan Press.
In college, sure, it was a job filled with shoulder massages and The Snap Cup encouragements. Now, I’m in the (little) big seat, relearning the art of AP Style and cracking the fresh 2018 edition of the journalist’s bible for my weekend leisure reading.
And I still feel unequipped for the job.
My boss and mentor, Kristen Czaban, helped me discover that I’m extrinsically motivated, meaning that my inner psyche has less power to propel me forward than, say, her words of encouragement. After this revelation, the pieces started falling into place.
My self-talk is more negative than I’d prefer, but with encouragement from friends, family, mentors and higher-ups, I’ve been able to accomplish great things and have found myself in really cool positions of leadership. Those leadership positions have humbled, encouraged and inspired me to be the writer you’ve read scattered across these pages the last two years.
Moving into the editor’s chair is and will be a gradual process, but with the 10 years of expertise from Kristen and a stellar staff, I’m confident that the Sheridan community will continue to receive top-quality journalism.
So, cheers to Kristen and every other leader who encouraged and humbled me in offering me positions I never thought I could tackle.
Because of you folks, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to serve the community in the editor role for The Sheridan Press. I’m stoked to be serving you in this capacity.