Halcyon Days

Columns and reflections by Terry Britt

Archive for August 2013

Austin Awaits

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(reprinted with permission of Van Zandt News)

Is “goodbye” harder to say the second time around?

Maybe it depends on the circumstance, but it is a question I once thought I would never have to consider regarding my life in Van Zandt County, Texas.

For those readers who don’t know my professional background, I spent seven years here from 1994-2001, before taking a sports reporter position with the Denton Record-Chronicle.

At the time, I reasonably thought I would never be back in Van Zandt County as a reporter. But like so many others in all walks of life, I learned the grandest plans do not always come to fruition.

So, after bouncing around the south central United States for several years, looking for the perfect newspaper job that never quite materialized, fortune would have it that I came back to Van Zandt Newspapers in November 2007.

In the nearly six years that have gone by, I have to say the experience has been even better than before. A vast number of people around the county were happy to see my byline again, and took time to say so in person.

And just like the time before, the people, places and subjects of my reporting work here were varied and unique, sometimes controversial, but always providing an enriching experience for a writer.

So here I am writing a farewell column again. This time, though, the reason for departing Van Zandt Newspapers is one I could have never imagined until recently.

You see, for the past two years, I’ve been leading a double life, trotting off to Tyler most weekdays and transforming into a superior-level college student.

I did not get to finish a college degree I started immediately after high school many years ago. I thought it was a distant dream I would never realize.

It takes courage to make any dream come true, and in the summer of 2011, I took the necessary leap of faith and enrolled full-time at the University of Texas at Tyler.

No part of what transpired since then was easy – but nothing good ever is.

I never thought much about doing anything beyond finishing a bachelor’s degree until I started to realize how much I loved doing research and academic writing.

I started to check into graduate school programs last year. I took the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in November – the absolute hardest test I have taken in my life – and scored high enough that I was suddenly getting contacted by schools across the country.

Before this year, I never thought much about places like Boston University, Syracuse, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana.

No, Harvard, Columbia and Stanford were not on the list. Try as you might, you can’t make everyone fall in love with you.

But the University of Texas at Austin’s Graduate School of Journalism was on the list, and Austin will be my new home starting next week.

Dreams can change very suddenly and unexpectedly, much like life in general. Over the years, I’ve learned it is a good idea to accept that and let it take you to greater things.

I may not be around in person or in the local newspapers anymore, but I hope you will be hearing a lot about me in the years to come.

If you would like to keep up with what I am doing on the way to a PhD, send me a Facebook request or follow my blog at www.terrybritt.wordpress.com.

Take care, and may God bless each of you.

Written by terrybritt

August 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm