SENIOR COLUMN: I found my voice, and so can youBy Alexis Faire | 04/27/2017 11:49pm
I’ve always been a nice person – and I mean that in the least narcissistic way possible. My entire life, people have always known me to be shy, quiet and nice. I grew up in the small town of Enterprise, Alabama, where everyone knew each other, and most of the people who were in your kindergarten class were also in your high school class. I tried so hard to break away from the person everyone thought I was. I wanted to have a voice, and I wanted to be heard.
Needless to say, when you make your first impression in a small town, it sticks with you until you leave for college.
I always knew The University of Alabama was the place for me. In fact, I knew it when I was 3 years old. When I graduated from high school, I realized this journey wouldn’t just include me fulfilling my dream; it would be an opportunity to make another first impression.
I wanted so badly to have the chance to start over with people who hadn’t known me my entire life.
The University of Alabama would be the place where I would meet people with the same interests as me, the place where I would recognize my true talents. On Sept. 17, 2014, I was given an opportunity that would eventually change my life for the better. I became a volunteer copy editor for The Crimson White – my home away from home.
At the time, I was just happy to finally be a part of something. The harder I worked, the more I fell in love with the organization.
After five months of being a volunteer, I was promoted to a paid staff position. I felt like my work mattered, like I mattered. Not even three months later, I was hired as Chief Copy Editor and became a member of the Editorial Board for the following school year. In one school year, I did something that took most editors years to accomplish.
With that, I finally found my voice.
Journalism helped me find my voice. I had a say in important topics the organization covered. I helped write editorials that called attention to issues that surrounded the community and in the world. While I was fortunate enough to finally have my voice be heard, I also gave a voice to those who didn’t already have one.
My work at the CW has taught me several lessons. It taught me the importance of teamwork, responsibility and dedication. I’ve learned more about myself as well as the people I’ve associated with, just during my four years at the Capstone.
The University of Alabama would be the place where I truly realized that not everyone will appreciate how nice of a person I could be.
I’ve dealt with friends, roommates and even colleagues who I thought I could depend on. In the end, I was proven wrong. (I’ll spare you the details.) I was taken advantage of because they thought I would never stand up for myself. They thought I didn’t have a voice.
Oprah Winfrey once said, “I was once afraid of people saying, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now, I have the courage to stand and say, ‘This is who I am.’ ”
It took me four years to finally grasp that concept. But if someone gave me the chance to redo it and change everything, I still wouldn’t. Every obstacle I faced since my freshman year was like a piece of the old me slowly chipping away – it made me a stronger person.
So, I thank you. Thank you to those who doubted my abilities. Without you, I would not have become the person I am today.
I also want to thank those who spread positivity in my life and pushed me to be better. Thank you to Mark Mayfield, who not only saw my talent while working for the CW but believed that talent would help Alice. Thank you to Dr. Scott Parrott, who allowed me to spend the last four years in his office panicking about class schedules and my future but also reminded me that everything would be OK. Thank you to all of the wonderful professors I’ve had during my time at the Capstone. Thank you to Leigh Terry, who showed me what it’s like to be an empowered woman and pushed me to use my voice without holding back. Thank you to every staff I’ve been a part of – for both The Crimson White and Alice – through which I’ve gained some of my closest friends. Thank you to everyone who saw something in me, even before I saw it in myself.
So, my advice to my colleagues, underclassmen and anyone reading this is to always be nice but never be afraid to stand up for yourself. Even the great Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Use the voice God gave you. Trust me, someone out there will hear you.
Alexis Faire is a senior majoring in journalism. She was Digital Editor of The Crimson White 2016-17.