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I was an insecure writer, until I landed my first job

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Oct 24, 2022 5:00 am

When you ask a university student with ambitious dreams whether they’re excited to graduate from college, they would most likely answer with a resounding yes, but I was a different case. I was dreading the moment when my beloved university would finally let me flap my wings and find my own nest in the 'real’ world.  

Despite suffering sleep-inducing lectures and being bombarded with endless assignments throughout my four-year odyssey as a journalism student, there was this indescribable part of myself that wanted to remain in that zone for as long as I am content. My inexperience and insecurity as a writer were to blame for that. 

I’ve always loved writing since I was young, but I didn’t know how far that passion would take me as I got older.  

As my graduation loomed closer, I became more unsure of what awaited me for the days ahead. I didn’t know whether I belonged up there with the veteran reporters and seasoned writers who could whip up a compelling piece of journalistic work in a span of a few hours, or even minutes. Being honed during such a time as a global pandemic didn’t exactly help boost my confidence. 

Most of all, I feared that I was never going to become a journalist at all and I would be forced to take on a job that was far from the career I aspired to reach, and all of the stories I could have written and would have loved to write would never see the light of day. 

But then, the inevitable came and I left my alma mater to look for a job. Despite my lack of confidence, I took a chance and put in an application to be a part of the PhilSTAR L!fe team 

I had been eyeing to apply to PhilSTAR L!fe for quite some time, having been impressed by their stories that not only fill you in with ways on how to enjoy life, but also make you hope, grieve, yearn for a brighter future, and learn how to be a better person. I wanted to be a part of that team. I wanted to write about people breaking barriers to achieve something great, about thrill seekers doing what they love most in life, and about beacons of hope that could motivate us to get through our daily lives. 

I didn’t really expect anything when I sent them an email containing my uneventful resume and sample articles. But I was made to take the exam, I was interviewed, I was hired as a content producer, and now here I am, four months later, breaking important information, interviewing a variety of people with stories to tell, and producing content that I still cannot believe came from my own words and from my own construction. 

My Zoom interview with 'Lolong' lead actor Ruru Madrid and GMA Public Affairs' program manager Nowell Cuanang.

I make it sound like it’s a piece of cake, but every day is sprinkled with challenges. Like a chest that you find in a dark and dangerous dungeon, you never know what you’re going to get. One moment you’re writing about a celebrity couple sharing sweet moments together, and then the next, you’re being assigned to cover a controversial issue regarding a student’s plagiarized speech complete with insights from an expert. It’s an unpredictable profession that may leave you grasping for the right words all while racing to break the story.  

I can distinctly recall how it wasn’t even a week after I started working at Life that I was assigned a particularly formidable topic: a feature story on former vice president Leni Robredo’s Angat Buhay organization 

It wasn’t that the story was too complex or convoluted. It could have been a breeze for me to write, but the problem was that it was assigned to me on the day itself with only a few hours to finish it. To make matters more challenging, I needed to include insights from someone who attended the launching of the organization, and I had no idea how to contact someone like that in such a short time.  

But I took it upon myself to swim against the tide and complete the feature story. In that moment, immense pride washed away every insecurity I had in myself as a writer. I wasn’t pleased because of how I finished the story in the nick of time nor was it because of how I managed to get insights from an attendee at the last minute. I was proud because I managed to thoroughly and earnestly express through my piece the history of Robredo’s Angat Buhay program and how it kept the spirit of volunteerism and hope alive amid difficult times.  

With podcast creators Mavy Legaspi ang Kyline Alcantara during my coverage of a Spotify Creator Mixdown event.

Being able to create inspiring stories like these is the reason why I pushed through being a journalist despite every negative insult that society throws against the profession.   

As I continue learning and growing at L!fe in the coming days, I hope that through my pieces, I can inspire other insecure writers like myself with a strong fascination for writing to challenge themselves and tell stories that make us human.