City's newest reporter glad to be back in community
Forever Young: A column by reporter Sean Young
It’s great to be back in Airdrie.
I grew up here, graduated high school here (Go Mustangs!), but if you’d asked me 10 years ago — I would have told you I’d never be back here. Things change.
After high school and three or four years of “taking a year to figure out what I’m going to do next,” I went to the University of Calgary and spent another four years getting a degree in English, or as my oilfield and tradesmen friends call it, a degree in Useless. They may have been right, but I dove further into the liberal arts abyss and emerged with a diploma in print journalism from Lethbridge College in 2009. While at college, a veteran newsman and likely the best educator I’ve ever been under the tutelage of, D’Arcy Kavanagh, shot it to me straight:
“If you’re willing to move, you will find a job in journalism after school,” he said.
I started thinking of all the places my literary heroes had lived in during their formative years. Should I go to Paris like Hemingway did? Chase the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson to San Francisco? Or follow the new journalism footsteps of Tom Wolfe to New York and Washington?
After assessing my options and realizing that the thought of moving away from Canada (even Alberta, if we’re being honest) gives me a feeling of deep and uncontrollable panic, I came back to Calgary. I interned at Avenue magazine for close to a year before working for several months at the Red Deer Advocate. It was at this time my girlfriend and I decided to move to Vancouver.
Living by the ocean was awesome. Living in near-poverty and being turned down for copy-writing gigs at kitchenware supply companies was not. The big city took a bite out of my soul that I’m still trying to get back. Broke and busted, I came back to Airdrie right before last Christmas and curled up in a ball for a few weeks. My parents’ cooking, having a few pints with my close friends, freelance writing, and starting training at Trinity Boxing Academy in Airdrie rebuilt me.
The final piece of the new me came when I applied at Rocky View Publishing for my current job, just a couple weeks ago. Before the position was posted, I’d been telling people that Airdrie no longer felt like the one-horse town I’d raged to get out of when I was 18. Things are exciting here, the community’s energy seems new and vigorous, and I’d forgotten what it felt like to live where people seem to genuinely care about each other’s prosperity.
My hope is that I can write Airdrie and Rocky View’s important stories and grow as a journalist, while having some fun here, of course.
I’m all in on A-Town (as the kids call it) and the freeing pace of life that living here affords. I think eventually I would like to become a high school teacher in Airdrie (teaching English and Social Studies) and hopefully I’ll get to teach some form of journalism to students who want to learn this dying art. Perhaps I’ll get to impart the wisdom to these young lions that Mr. Kavanagh gave to me, with one amendment:
“You can find a job if you’re willing to move,” I’ll say.
“...But trust me, it’s going to be hard out there to find what you’ve already got here.”