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Growing up, I never had a dream job set in stone or a career that I was striving for. My life motto has always been to go with the flow and to see where life took me. I was always drawn to creative fields like writing, acting, singing, design, etc., but I never thought I was talented enough to pursue any of those fields and fully thrive in them. When it came time to choose my college major, I decided on psychology. I had taken one psychology course in high school and found it to be interesting enough to make a career out of it. I liked working with people and figured I’d never be bored because there would be new challenges for me to work with every day. That one course in high school influenced my entire college career.

It wasn’t until I transferred to a university from community college and had already taken the psychology courses that I was interested in, that I realized that maybe a career in psychology wasn’t for me. I wasn’t excelling in my statistics, research, or science-heavy courses – which made up a decent amount of my major’s requirements. I wanted to focus on the abnormal psychology and counseling classes, but I had already completed them. I was a junior in college when I started to have this realization that moving forward in psychology may not be what was right for me, but I refused to quit on a degree that I had already put so much time and studying into.

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When I was struggling with deciding how I’d move forward with my education, I did a lot of reflecting and praying, which led me back to my love for creating and working with people. I began taking courses in communication and the first class I signed up for outside of my psychology background was a class working in radio production.

I had no idea what the radio production class consisted of, but it was one of the required communication course options, so I signed up for it. I told my friend I would be taking this class and she turned to me and bluntly asked: “How are you going to take that class when you don’t like hearing the sound of your voice?” She had a point. Whenever someone pulled out their phones to record videos, I wouldn’t speak until they stopped recording, simply because I hated hearing back the sound of my voice and felt embarrassed by it. I told her that that wouldn’t be an issue because we wouldn’t be recording my voice, we’d just be working for the school radio station doing production – boy, was I wrong.

I showed up to that class and one of the very first things that professor said was that we’d be doing hour-long radio shows by ourselves every week. If that wasn’t bad enough for a girl that hated the sound of her own voice, he said we would also be playing them back in class for our entire class to hear while he critiqued us and our radio show. I was horrified. This sounded like an absolute nightmare and I was in denial of what I had just been told. In my state of shock, my professor put us on air that same day. All we had to do was introduce a song on the radio as he did the board work for us. I introduced the song, Blow Your Mind by Dua Lipa, and there it was, my first time on the radio, and it was all over in about 15 seconds. I’m positive my professor saw the fear and insecurity I had at that moment because he reassured me and told me I had a “sweet voice.” I left that first day of class and called my mom to tell her because I had always perceived my voice to be more monotone and boy-like since my mom would frequently mix up my younger brother and I when we spoke. As little of a comment that that was from my professor, it was the reassurance that I needed to feel confident enough to come back and do an hour-long weekly radio show.

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Not only did I do my weekly radio shows for that semester, but I also continued my radio show for a total of three of my four semesters at CLU and then turned it into a podcast that I’m continuing after graduation, thanks to the podcasting production class I later took after loving the radio production course. What was once my biggest fear had turned into one of my favorite hobbies. Joining that class and continuing in the radio and podcast programs at my school has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career. I was finally allowing myself to express my creativity after holding myself back for so long. I got to write scripts, entertain, produce and edit, expand my communication skills, learn to network, and meet some amazing people.

I never would have continued pursuing broadcasting after that first day in my radio class had I not had the supportive and encouraging professor that I did. There’s a handful of teachers I can count that have truly poured into me and invested into me as both a student and an individual. Those teachers that truly care are the ones that make the difference and inspire their students to want to learn, grow, and be better both as a human and a student. Three of the teachers from my handful came from the communications program at CLU, with two being from the radio program. I could never thank any of those teachers enough for what they did to uplift me and continue encouraging me and believing in me when I didn’t even believe in myself.

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Broadcasting every week for a year and a half has turned me into a more confident and creative person. I found something that I am decently talented at (I don’t want to get your hopes up by tooting my horn too much) and I enjoy doing it and could effortlessly pour hours into the craft. Investing my time in the radio program at CLU was the happiest accident I could have asked for. While I’m still graduating with a degree in psychology, I owe my success and career experience to all the broadcast-related courses and professors that helped to mold me and teach me while at CLU, because those are the experiences that I’ll be taking with me into my life and career.

Sabrina Riggan

Cal Lutheran '20

Sabrina Riggan is a senior at California Lutheran University, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Communication. She is passionate about dogs, all things entertainment, online shopping, anything that can come in pink, strolls through Trader Joe's, and memes relating to her being a Scorpio.
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