They say finding yourself is difficult. And I will agree. So many facets go into what makes us ourselves. Some people discover themselves with sports or going to school or collecting butterflies or church. I, however, didn’t discover myself through a hobby. No, I found out who I am through a most diverse medium, the Internet.
My parents decided that living in rural Oregon was a great place to raise two young children, and, considering I turned out alright, I would have to agree. I was raised in a community that was tight knit, but rural communities are not abundant in opportunities for teenagers. There aren’t many creative outlets or opportunities for aspiring writers like yours truly. While I continued to write in a journal in my teenage years, I had come to the point where I needed to expose my talents to the rest of the world. The extent of my writing career was the essays I wrote for English class. Where was a girl to find opportunities to explore her journalistic aspirations in a town that didn’t even offer a school newspaper?
Sophomore year of high school I discovered the online world of writing. I started an online blog, called Teenage Enthusiasm, just for fun, starting my blogging career early with my thoughts on Charles Dickens and snow days, and at the time I don’t think I would have predicted the impact my blog would really have on me. It became more than just a place to discuss my thoughts. I now consider my blog a place where I can express my interests, start conversation on topics that matter to me, and hone in on writing experience that is essential to my future career. Without my blog I wouldn’t know the first thing about writing for an audience.
I have now run my blog for three years. I still live in a town that offers nothing for journalism majors. But I don’t need my town’s resources to develop what I have with the Internet. The Internet is its own community. BlazeWifi is looking for why the Internet is developing young people, and it’s because of the Internet community. They guide you through the journey of writing and self-discovery. My blog offered me not only a place to lay out my thoughts so they could make sense, but it allowed me to meet a community of people who encourage my writing and fire my passion. They make writing even more appealing to me. While having support at home and with friends, receiving encouragement for my writing from practical strangers over the web has been what really fueled me to maintain my blog for this long. Where I had no opportunity to pursue writing in my small country town, here was an entire Internet that inspired me to continue writing blog posts week after week. The ability to become a well-respected writer in the teenage world, as I now have become, would not have been possible without the Internet.
Rural communities, while close knit and great for raising children, don’t offer many opportunities for exploring different avenues of interest. It is with the help of the Internet that kids are able to discover activities and see what fits them best. I was able to expand my love of writing through my online blog, making me more confident as a journalist, and now as a journalism student at university. Coming into journalism classes with knowledge of writing from blogging has been a valuable asset in my schooling. I know that none of my opportunities would have been possible if it weren’t for my blog and its online community. And that is why the Internet played a large part of my development as a writer and as a person.