Smith ('94, '01 M.J.) was the editor of the North Texas
Daily in 1994 and a national Dow-Jones intern. She is
currently a strategic communications manager for a national
do we know at the time of our undergraduate years that earning
a college degree isnt just about knowledge absorption. Sure
there is book reading, lecture listening and test taking, but for
many of us, its the personal growth taking place which
we dont realize until years later that becomes the
foundation for our future success. In my own case, it came mostly
in the form of professor mentorship.
I dont know if this tradition continues today, but in the
early 90s, all writers and editors of the North Texas Daily
staff endured a weekly, open critique equivalent, it seemed
at times, to being publicly flogged. As fledgling journalists, it
was easy to feel thin-skinned and overly sensitive when an error
had been pointed out in front of our peers.
Yet, it was during these times that we learned the most. Such errors
simply would not ever be repeated, which, in hindsight, I believe
prepared us well for what the outside world would bring. Moreover,
an occasional good job comment written
by veteran Dallas Times Herald reporter Keith Shelton, also
our news-reporting instructor, could send our spirits soaring, inspiring
us to believe in ourselves and work even harder.
One day early in my senior year, I was reading a flier about a national
internship on the journalism bulletin board when editing instructor
Roy Moses stopped and asked me if I planned to apply. Such a thing
just seemed out of reach to me, and I told him so matter-of-factly.
Readily dismissing my lack of self-confidence, he said sternly,
You stand just as good a chance as anyone. Besides, what do
you have to lose by taking the test?
So, at his behest, I took it, never expecting a response. A month
or two later, I sat dumbfounded in class when he proudly made the
announcement that I had been accepted for the internship.
Another memorable time, I was standing with a fellow journalism
student in the doorway of the North Texas Daily newsroom.
We were confessing to each other how much we hated having to give
speeches and presentations because of how nervous they made us feel.
Richard Wells, chair of the journalism department, happened to be
nearby and looked at us both with disbelief.
I cant believe you are afraid, he admonished.
You two intelligent women are just as good as anyone else
out there. Dont let others intimidate you.
Such words are timeless. I find myself repeating them to this day
whenever Im confronted with adversity. Doesnt it seem,
after all, that the whole notion of belief in oneself
is fundamental in our journey toward self-actualization? Isnt
it what separates the leaders from the followers, the winners from
I think I can speak for many alumni who believe that their positive
experience at UNT wasnt just about quality education. It was
the nurturing and affirmation we received to believe in ourselves
that made all the difference.