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Tyler Sweeney Portfolio WT Reflective Essay A place called WT Sitting at an anchor desk in Newsone, I looked around and thought “man this really isn’t what I want to do.” I grew up playing ‘news anchor’ with my neighborhood friend Megan, where we would pour water out of a bucket on top of an umbrella from a balcony above as the ‘reporter’ would give out the weather report live. I would later beg my mom not to shut off the VHS camcorder because I wasn’t done singing in my batman underwear with a fake microphone. Yes, I was a ham and a star in my own mind even at the age of five. Yet as I sat down to read from a teleprompter, a dream that grew as I watched Good Morning America everyday as I went to class in middle school, I felt uncomfortable. I felt out of place. I didn’t feel right. I knew I could go into news if I wanted to, but it wasn’t my passion. As one of my closest professors has always said “Find your passion” – for me this was a big “OH NO” moment in finding my passion. My passion would come that summer with the position of Peer Leader. Showing and leading students into the college experience, something that I hold near and dear to my heart as I truly have discovered who I am here at West Texas A&M, would soon teach myself that maybe leading others into a place of growth would be a passion of mine. Seeing freshmen students mature and ask myself for advice was something that I looked forward to – it was the feeling of giving back. A semester later as school began again and I was floundering in the world of mass comm., literally tapped out in all of my classes, it was announced that I was selected to travel to Cambodia with the Readership WT program. I would bring along with me a Canon camera, audio equipment, and enough batteries to power a small car – I was set to shoot a documentary.


Tyler Sweeney Portfolio WT Reflective Essay The semester I traveled to Cambodia, my own passion started to flair again; it became my first semester taking advertising and public relations classes. I can remember being scared and worried about moving to the upstairs world in the Fine Arts Complex. I was in a mass comm. area I wasn’t familiar with. I didn’t know the terms. I didn’t know what a plans book looked liked. I felt like an alien. Yet, as the semester continued I felt at home. I felt like I had something to be excited about again. I would think up creative concepts and challenge my brain to push further and find something more unique. As the Cambodia documentary began to be pieced together I found passion in telling the story of how students went into the global experience with one thing on their mind but left with so much more. I called it Shedding Ignorance because I showcased students tearing down their walls and allowing themselves to become global citizens – shedding the thoughts and preconceived notions that they came in with. Then it hit me. On my own personal level, I was leaving WT with a completely different mindset than what I came into it with. I came in with thoughts of “news, broadcasting, and more news” when my passion lay with advertising and public relations and documentary work. In Cambodia, one quote that stuck out in my mind that sums up many of the lessons we learned is “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman. WT has shown me that even when you think you are on the right path and you suddenly discover it’s not right for you – well that’s perfectly ok. It’s ok to take a step in a different direction, on an unpaved dirt road. It’s ok to branch out and see where you yourself can come alive. A place that you can find your passion at. A place called WT.


WT Reflective Essay