By the Breeze staff
The Breeze's social media editor, Faith Michaela Hawkins, tragically passed away Sep. 22 on her way to school. Below is a piece she wrote last spring on what she learned from her time in journalism, followed by testimonials in remembrance of her by the Breeze staff.
By Faith Hawkins
When I began the beginning of the semester in Journalism 30, I was quickly made aware of everything I did not know. I felt overwhelmed with all the new information orbiting around me, but i remained optimistic because it was a fresh semester and i wasn’t THAT discouraged just yet. I remember feeling very inadequate after the second week and thinking that this just wasn’t “My Thing.” The terminology used in the class wasn’t recognizable to me, I felt like everyone around me was more qualified. Barring all the self doubt, something still told me to just hang on for another week or two and see what happened.
I kept going and feeling unsatisfied with my knowledge. Through continuing to push myself to go, eventually i noticed that i didn’t feel so uncomfortable. I wasn’t embarrassed to ask questions anymore, and I began to understand the things that i felt overwhelmed by previously. Ultimately i realized that I had begun to learn through doing, which was the most valuable part of this journalism course.
One major learning experience I got was through submitting my first story.My pitch for a story on sexual consent got approved, and i was excited but nervous. I sat in front of my laptop ready and willing to write the article, but what started as an excitement over working on that piece quickly turned to anxiety. I stared at it for 2 hours unable to start the article. Once I did finally hit me word limit, I was horrified and thought it was awful. I wrote half of it in third person and half in second person. It was unorganized. I hated all of it.
Though I thought my article sucked majorly, Kristina went to edit it for me and gave me some really valuable advice. She told me that i was being overly self-conscious. She explained that everyone feels like their work isn’t the best sometimes but all of our articles are read before they go out and no one would print an article they thought sucked. I was grateful for her words because it helped me get out of my head and actually improve the article and I began to feel proud of what I wrote. So proud that wanted to take it a step further and ensure it got in. I knew that when an article was accompanied by a photo it was more likely to go in so I took one and attached it. I thought of the concept of using a candy heart and asked my sister to pose for me to shoot the picture. That photo got such a great response from everyone in the class that it helped me to realize that I didn’t suck that badly and I could produce cool visuals and articles if I thought about it and applied myself. By the end of the semester I went from questioning why I was here to trying to become an editor.
That story is only one example of so many that I will walk away remembering. I learned how to take criticism, compete with myself to be better, communicate with editors and co-writers, write in the correct formats, develop a voice for my work, manage my time in terms of writing articles, properly submit photos in the right format, which stories fall under which desk and how to interview someone (to name a few).
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the amount of knowledge I feel that I have gained upon finishing up this course. I’m incredibly grateful to have met such great people through this course and look forward to continuing to learn from all of them and help them learn in any way that I can next semester. Of all the lessons I learned from this journalism course, the most valuable to me was learning that I can push myself to do anything if I just stick with it and learn all that I can. I started to see things I didn’t know as an opportunity to know more, instead of feeling bad that I don’t know something. I look forward to next semester and i thank all of you for being so ridiculously cool.
She pushed me to work my hardest. When it came to pop culture, music and style, we’d push each other to write our best work. She would be there for when I needed help on an article or even throw in her own truthful opinion. I went to Faith when I felt nobody else would understand my opinions in the newsroom. I knew every word that she spoke was honest and true. Faith Hawkins left an everlasting impression on my life and one that I'll carry with me through my career and life. Thank you Faith, for every smile and laugh.
Faith had a great sense of humor. One of the funniest things I ever heard her say was a story about her and an overly lecturing customer she had at her job. Apparently, her customer was telling her why she shouldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders and to instead vote for different candidate. So using what the customer left as a tip, Faith decided to donate it straight to Bernie Sanders’ campaign. That story cracks me up to this day when I remember it!
Her personality enabled others to gravitate to her individuality. Her voice was inspiring to those around her. As one of her many followers on Twitter, she expressed herself through photography and through her use of fashion. She will be greatly missed by her loved ones and by those who have come to know her.
From the day she walked I knew we would be friends. It was one of those situations when you walk in and you look at each other to establish that you should sit together, so she did. The energy was instantly flowing between us and conversation was effortless. She always pushed me to be more self expressive, a better writer, and a better listener, and she didn't know and I never got the chance to tell her. Just her being who she was, so independent and open minded, helped shaped so many people who's lives were blessed by her presence. As for her talent, she was brilliant and had so many new ideas to bring to the table. Her photography spoke words and her writings painted pictures. I saw something so bright in her and I know for a fact her writing would have changed the views and opinions of so many people. For you I will write with a deeper passion and drive to make my words mean more than their definitions.
Journalism will not be the same with out my partner and the world will not be the same with out your soul. You saw something in me that a lot of people did not and you drove me to inspire. Thank you for changing me with out even knowing you changed me. Thank you for being my first college friend, and my only one last year. Faith Michaela Hawkins, it was such a pleasure. I will continue to look at the mountains that the back side of Chaffey faces and feel your presence, I will continue to write and photograph for change, and I will continue trying to have a spirit as awaken and beautiful as yours. Create and evolve in peace Faith, you are so loved and so missed.
On the handful of occasions I worked with Faith, I found she was the ideal person to collaborate with on a project. Her efforts showed growth not in the individual pieces, but in the way she tackled her other roles in the newsroom as well. It was impossible not to feel her enthusiasm when a page was coming together, reminding me why I do this.
But when we had time away from work, Faith introduced me to newer, recent art—music specifically. It not only gave me an opportunity to stay current, but also revealed and informed her personality and character. I’ll always have those tracks to bump to remember Faith—to hear the sounds that remind us who we are.
I didn’t know Faith well. But what stands out to me when I remember her time in journalism is the first article she wrote for the paper, “Talk Consent to Me.” I was impressed by how she handled the topic of sex. It was mature and informative and had such a great photo to accompany it. Many of us even thought her photo was professionally taken and were surprised to find that she took it herself. From the short time I knew her, I could tell she was a talented person with a lot of potential as a journalist.