This summer has been a total spiral for me. My Twitter account has blown up since the Green Bay Packers started their offseason program, my Milwaukee Bucks coverage continued, and the biggest thing of all, my decision on where I will be attending school next fall has be stalking me non-stop. Today, it’s over. I’ve finally made my decision. I will not be attending Marquette University for the reminder of my college career. I’m going back to the school where I have already made a name for myself…the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
This was one of the hardest decisions of my entire life (hence, why it took so long), and I spoke with over 15 professional journalists about this choice. My whole college life I’ve been bothered by this superstition that I needed to go to journalism school and that in order for me to get a good job, I need a school with a high pedigree. But what really matters in this field of journalism is experience. Period. Instead of wondering what I will do at Marquette, it came to what I have done already at UW-Parkside. I think compared to students around my age, my credentials are pretty damn good. I mean, I was there in St. Francis when the Bucks drafted Jabari Parker. I was there for his press conference on the second-level of the Milwaukee Public Market. I was there when they introduced Jason Kidd in the middle of the BMO Harris Bradley Center floor. I started to notice a trend: Why am I the only college sports journalist in Milwaukee here at all of these events? Where is everybody else from these "journalism" schools? I’ve been doing everything I need to do from the beginning compared to some students who are in journalism schools sitting on the sidelines.
Many of you might not know this, but I’ve been sourced on websites like ProBasketballTalk (NBC) and Fansided (Sports Illustrated), along with other various networks/publications. Google search “Aron Yohannes Bucks” and see what I mean. I gained that credibility not from going to a journalism school, but from experience and naturally understanding how to conduct myself professionally. It's not a widespread amount, but sports fans in Milwaukee actually know who I am. Every journalist has two things in this field: their name, and their credibility. I think I’ve done a really good job at building both already.
There are many students who are stuck in journalism schools around the U.S. losing sleep over the amount of debt they have. I couldn’t afford to put myself in a situation where I’d be 10-13 thousand in debt my first year as a transfer student. Marquette offered me scholarships, but I’d be looking at another two or three years in school at the least before I completed my degree. I didn’t want to add loans on top of loans to bury myself to the core. My degree would be completed when I am approximately 23 or 24-years-old at Marquette. Staying at UW-Parkside will allow me to finish it at 22 (expected graduation: December ‘15). I have nothing bad to say about Marquette, they were very positive and upbeat with me about everything. It just wasn't going to fit right now.
Maybe I won’t get looked at the same by some job recruiters because I didn’t go to a journalism school, or a powerhouse like Auburn or Wisconsin. Fact: I already don’t get looked at the same because I’m African-American. This business is all about who you know, and how talented you actually are. I believe I’m one of the most talented/diverse/mature/creative/hardworking young sports journalists in the entire country that’s still in school and can back it up. I’ve made mistakes like everybody else, but the experience I have been able to gain is what truly matters.
Down the road I’ll consider going to graduate school, but it has to be the right fit financially and academically. That's it. One thing that is different going back to Parkside this time around is that I won’t be living in Kenosha anymore (whew). With classes only being two days a week, along with my father’s recent health scare, I’ll be living at home in Milwaukee. Please spare me with the commuting complaints, the drive is only 20-25 minutes if you don’t catch traffic and drive like a normal person. This will allow me to continue my networking in Milwaukee along with starting my fourth internship.
So while some students wait their turn at their major school newspaper or television station for a small contributing spot, I’m already ahead doing things they haven’t been able to do. Think about it, this coming season will be my THIRD covering an NBA franchise while credentialed. How many students can say that? It’s unfortunate for some that they’ll have to keep sitting on the bench.
I’m already on the floor.
Behind the Broadcaster
This blog displays topics that interest me -- including culture, entertainment, music, and life experiences.