All my mornings at the Talon were the same: walking into the newsroom to the smell of hazelnut coffee, while the weather channel was on in the background, saying it would either be too hot, or too cold – because who understands the weather in Oklahoma.
After I walk past the two rows of tables, I sit at the last one by the wall. I chose to sit there because I can see the whole room, but at the same time because it felt isolated enough that I could find the motivation to write. Truth be told, I actually just chose that desk because there was a plug-in right next to it, but all the other reasons, while secondary, are true too.
However, isolated was the last thing I felt while being at the Talon. The times that I was there alone were rare. People full of ideas, dreams, different families and backgrounds, all shared a little bit of their life with me, and I shared mine with them. Because of that, my heart found comfort in between the Talon walls. It was not the countless hours of projects, articles, editing and doing it all over again the next day that makes the Talon home, it is the people.
But it wasn’t always like that.
In 2019, when I transferred to Oklahoma Christian University, and Dr. Brian Simmons kindly arranged my class schedule, he put me in Journalism Practicum, and I had no idea what that meant.
On the first day of class, aka the first Talon meeting I participated in, I went to the wrong room. I sat for ten minutes in the classroom right in front of the Talon, until a kind soul came to my rescue.
I wasn’t just lost on campus, but I was lost in every aspect of my life when I came to Oklahoma Christian as a sophomore. I had no idea who I was and what I was doing. I thought about giving up on school so many times because nothing felt right for me. I was struggling mentally, and I was miserable while trying to balance playing soccer, working, and keeping up with class projects. It was just too much too fast.
I always knew I wanted to accomplish great things, which is why I did not think twice when I got the chance to leave Brazil to study in the United States. I wanted to be unique, seen and heard. That was my motivation the whole time I was here: to know that what I was accomplishing was bigger than me. But being so far from everything I have always known was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
I will not say the Talon changed all that. At first, keeping deadlines while relying on other people to get back to me for interviews was one of my worst nightmares. I had no control over the situation, and I hated every minute of it. It felt like I was putting my success in someone else’s hands.
Things got easier – I began to feel seen and heard, and I felt like I had the most important job in the world at times. Knowing I had to be a voice for students gave me purpose. Not only did I find a purpose, but I also found a safe space on campus, one with my name on the desk, and a survival kit in my drawer – which includes a charger, a coffee mug and a notebook.
At the Talon, Dr. Philip Patterson gave me life and professional lessons I will remember forever. He taught me how to be a serious journalist and a better writer. He guided me through the times where I felt lost and made me understand my worth. In the Talon, I also met people I hope will soon be work colleagues. For those relationships and connections, I am thankful.
Today as I walk out of the newsroom for the last time, I am ready to face the real world and be the journalist I was trained to be. But what I really take away from my time there is growth. The lost sophomore girl that walked into the wrong room is now a graduating senior who knows her way home. All she needs is the smell of hazelnut coffee and the noise of the weather channel to guide her there.