I didn’t know what to expect when I was sitting in the waiting area of the Catholic Herald to interview for this job. I came from a strict news background, spending the last two years in Chicago getting my master’s degree in journalism from Roosevelt University and the four years before that I was studying at UW-Whitewater. I wrote about politics and elections, protests and the military. Just about anything in any local newspaper, I was there to write about it if I could. However, those were stories for unpaid internships and the college newspaper; I needed a real job.
There I was, back home in Milwaukee three months after graduating, seeing my dream of being a journalist slipping away, trying to hold back my urge to beg the Herald for this job, and focusing on sounding smart and competent.
It was my first real job interview as a college graduate.
It worked. I got the job.
Now I had a new problem – the Catholic press. When I first arrived at the Herald, I expected to be covering church festivals and interviewing nuns – those stories are relevant in the local Catholic community – but that wasn’t what I learned in school. However, I entered this job with an open mind like my relatives before me.
I’m a product of hard work from my immigrant parents and grandparents who came to this country from Puerto Rico and Cuba to better their lives. The cliché American Dream, but in our family the dream is very true to a degree. I was the first in my family to graduate from a four-year university and the first to get a master’s degree, but like so many people in the U.S., I struggled to find a job.
My mom and abuela prayed for me to get a job; it didn’t matter where or even if I was a reporter, they just wanted work to come. The same prayers they said when they stepped foot in America. My mom laughed at the irony when I told her that her prayers were answered and I got the job at the Catholic Herald.
Since I started working, I have covered church festivals and interviewed nuns, but I have also written stories on immigration, rock ‘n’ roll and politics. I even scooped the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on a story about Catholic education. My education had paid off and, surprisingly, I’ve enjoyed my time here more than I ever thought, especially as a nervous college grad sitting in the waiting area.