“I’m an English major!”
“So… What are you going to do with that? Teach?”
This is the reaction I’ve received from almost everyone who asks about my education.
Contrary to popular belief, teaching is not the only thing you can do with an English degree.
I’ve always loved reading. I was the kid in the cafeteria reading a book during lunch, and my greatest joy was my weekly trip to the public library with my mom. I read voraciously, everything from “Harry Potter” to “Little Women,” and it’s a habit that I’m happy to say continues to this day. Even now, I have a book with me everywhere I go. This probably sounds trite, but it’s true.
As I got older, the question of college began to loom in the distance. I toyed with career ideas for years; I wanted to be a ballerina, then a doctor, and then an actress. Then, in high school, a lawyer, a photojournalist, and a Broadway star (What can I say… being cast as the lead in “Beauty and the Beast” my senior year gave me delusions of grandeur). When it came time to apply for college, I was torn: I loved theatre, but I was also still considering law, and everything seemed to be changing all at once.
The solution was right there all along, but I didn’t think about it until my mom said something. She suggested I think about majoring in English, and everything seemed to fall into place.
Within the first few weeks of my first semester, I signed up to write for The Hawk, the student newspaper here at Saint Joseph’s University. My first story–an opinions piece about the sexism Miley Cyrus had to deal with–was printed, and I was hooked. I kept writing, for the Opinions and Lifestyle sections, and absolutely loved it. Toward the end of spring semester my first year, The Hawk tweeted out that they were looking for an opinions editor. I still don’t know where I got the courage to apply, but, hands shaking and heart beating out of my chest, I dropped off the application.
Soon after, I had a Skype interview with the Editor in Chief and Managing Editor. I was beyond nervous, but apparently I did well enough… A few days later, I got an email saying that I had the job.
I knew only one person on the entire staff, and walking into the newsroom for my first production night, my stomach was in knots. I didn’t know what to expect, especially from such a close-knit group of people. However, in typical St. Joe’s fashion, they welcomed me immediately, and I haven’t looked back.
I found my home, and a family, on campus that first September production night, and although we’ve been through some controversy, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
The opportunities I’ve had as a result of being a part of this group are boundless. I’ve come a long way from being a staff writer: I helped cover the breaking news of Pope Francis’ visit to campus, I’ve seen a university president’s resignation, and another’s selection and inauguration, and I interviewed one of the lead journalists of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team (the group that broke the news of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse) prior to his visit to campus. In addition to all that, I’m now the Managing Editor.
I’ve never been happier to work with a group of people as I have with the staff of The Hawk. While the late nights and lack of coffee sometimes get to us, I know I have a group of people that I can depend on no matter what. They’re all brilliant, extraordinarily talented, and I love them with all my heart.
There’s a quote from Pedro Arrupe, S.J., that sums up my experience at Saint Joseph’s: “Fall in love, stay in love, it will decide everything.”
As a result of my experience on The Hawk, I’ve finally figured out that I want journalism to be a part of my life for the rest of my life. There’s something incredible about telling stories, and I have absolutely fallen in love with it.
None of this would’ve happened had I gone to another school. I applied to other places, sure, but from the minute I set foot on campus, I knew that I would be spending the next four years of my life on Hawk Hill. That decision, and the many others that have followed, have led me down the path to my future, and to the craziest, most incredible adventure I’ve ever had. The opportunities I’ve been given are incomparable, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Angela Christaldi is a rising senior from Vineland, New Jersey. She will graduate with a double-major in English and Communications with a minor in French. Angela serves as the Managing Editor on The Hawk, which won the Associated Collegiate Press’ Pacemaker Award in 2014 for outstanding practices in journalism.