By Brandi Kidd Jamerson
Twenty years. Oh, how things can change in 20 years.
Twenty years ago I was about to begin my senior year in high school when I reluctantly accepted a FlipSide assignment from my English teacher.
"Just write one story," she said, "and if you don't like it, you can quit."
I had it all figured out. I wanted a career in health care; I was leaning toward physical therapy, maybe nursing. All my classes -- anatomy, biology, chemistry -- were geared toward that goal.
But Flipside changed everything. I learned something about myself I never knew, but my English teacher did. I loved to write, and I wasn't too bad at it. I loved digging up facts, and I learned that every person had a story to tell.
My high school didn't have a school newspaper, so FlipSide gave me my first glimpse at the world of journalism -- and I was hooked. After my one-story assignment, I accepted the position as a FlipSide correspondent for my high school and the stories flowed for the next year.
FlipSide Editor Marina Hendricks became my mentor and treated my rough, unpolished "masterpieces" kindly, encouraging me all the way.
After doing a lot of soul searching (well, as much as one can at 17) and realizing my weak stomach probably would have sabotaged my medical career anyway, I abandoned my health care major and enrolled in journalism school at Marshall University.