NSights Blog

Staying curious

Graduating senior Emily MacDiarmid details the path of finding her passion, despite being interested in seemingly everything

It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to major in. I grew up curious, wanting to try every sport, every instrument and almost every other random hobby. When applying for colleges and searching for a major, this characteristic truly showed itself. I bounced back and forth between political science, architecture, music and journalism.

With journalism, I knew I would always be learning, from covering sports to science to social issues. From there, I needed to decide what form of journalism to pursue.

One of the courses that influenced my undergraduate career the most was Journalism 208, an initial core journalism course focusing on multimedia. My lab instructor and eventual mentor, Dr. Ezequiel Korin, taught me about various approaches to storytelling.

I remember creating an amateur travel video about a girl skateboarding from Pyramid Lake to Idlewild Skatepark.  At the time, it seemed like it would just be another video assignment to help me pass the class. At that point in my life, I felt insecure and lacked the slightest bit of confidence, especially in video production. Dr. Korin refused to let me think anything negatively about myself. He helped me gain confidence in my voice and vision as a journalist. 

Through this course, I became completely captivated by video production. I remember spending my free time watching documentaries, branded content videos and short films. I often visited the fifth floor of the Knowledge Center, borrowing books about experimental and documentary film theory.

I started constantly searching for opportunities to grow professionally. I searched for ways outside of the classroom to find projects and apply the new skills I learned. I was constantly working on a project, from research to video.

At first, I thought my education would mostly be about myself, gaining new skills and perfecting techniques. But in journalism, it’s not about me. While I improved, I also met many people, learning from them and utilizing my tools to help them tell their story.

I quickly became interested in documentary media. For me, I felt gratified finishing a documentary video project because of the several steps required. Each project incorporated research, writing, visuals and audio. For someone seemingly interested in everything, I realized documentary media was the best route for me.

During my time at the University, I applied my skills through a position as a travel photographer, a multimedia intern, an undergraduate researcher and the NPR Next Generation Radio Project. At first, it seemed like I was all over the place. But really, each of these positions helped me gain skills I could apply to my future goals, from storytelling to interviewing to being comfortable in a new place.

I got the opportunity to grow my interests as a Digital Content Creator with the Office of Marketing and Communication. This experience required me to meet students and faculty, listen to stories and develop new ways to communicate University news and events. I developed video projects with students and President Marc Johnson, photographed events and constantly learned about the impactful stories flowing through campus.

This opportunity helped me gain the tools needed to continue developing other documentary projects. During my last semester of college, I utilized lessons gained from my position in a documentary project to be presented at the Student Documentary Film Festival.

Approaching graduation, I’m excited about my future in documentary media because I get to continue exploring my curiosities and sharing stories. Looking back, I’m grateful for my studies, my mentors, my new friendships and my various opportunities. I might be graduating, but I’ll never stop learning.

MacDiarmid, Emily