Hello! My name is Kathleen Mackey and I’m excited to share a little bit about myself with the Empowered & Poised readers.
I will be a senior in the fall at John Carroll University (which is still weird to process) and I’m studying Communications with a concentration in Digital Media. I’m also minoring in English with a concentration in Professional Writing.
I have absolutely loved my time at John Carroll and I hate to think about the fact that I’m approaching the end of these four years. I could have never anticipated the amount of growth I’ve seen in myself, as well as the experiences I’ve had — both good and bad. I used to be someone that loved staying in my comfort zone and dreaded change. When I started college, I had no choice but to embrace being completely independent, and take risks. It wasn’t easy at times, but looking back as I approach my last year, I feel proud of the person I’ve grown into these past three years.
Outside of classes, I’ve devoted most of my time to being involved with our campus newspaper, The Carroll News. With my being a managing editor and editor-in-chief on staff, I have been given the role to write a weekly column in our Op/Ed section. Out of all of the responsibilities that came with these positions, this one intimidated me the most. I felt afraid to vocalize my opinions in such a public way. After writing for almost a year now, I still find myself sometimes afraid to take on a controversial topic, or to share an opinion that might not be well received. However, being given such a role has showed me that I have the chance to use that space to share a piece of writing that someone else might be able to relate to, or that might alter their perspective and consider new ideas. It’s empowered me to be proud to share my voice, and to not compare myself to others.
The Carroll News has also helped me grow into a leader, which is something I didn’t really see myself becoming when I started college. In fact, I don’t think I ever thought it was something I was fully capable of. I’ve always considered myself to be someone that works well with others, that listens and strives to meet a common ground, which made me feel like I couldn’t be an authoritative person that takes charge.
As I became more involved with the newspaper, I saw myself becoming more and more of a leader without even really realizing it. This past semester, I was selected to be the Editor-in-Chief, which was an incredible achievement — a goal that I hoped to accomplish during my college career, but was never sure if I’d see it happen. Transitioning into the position was a bit of a whirlwind and I found myself having to make decisions that weighed heavily on my mind. The pressure I was facing made me question whether or not I was qualified enough to be in such a position, and if I had the leadership skills required to do a successful job. It forced me to realize that (as cheesy as it sounds) you can’t always rely on others to reassure you. You have to have faith and courage within yourself. It was an incredibly challenging time, but it gave me a newfound sense of empowerment in my role.
While empowerment starts with yourself, I think it’s important to celebrate the people and things that empower you and push you to do better. Luckily, I find it everywhere around me. I’ve realized that I’m experiencing this transition into adulthood during a very interesting time, to say the least. The climate of our country these past few years has been often unsettling, but it’s pushed me to become critically aware of what’s happening around me, both locally and nationally. It’s not a time to remain silent and unaware, especially as I enter adulthood. I am constantly inspired by the people I surround myself with as well as those with large platforms that use their voice to enact positive change. It pushes me to do the same, whether it be with my columns, or just how I interact with others in my day to day life.
I would encourage anyone reading this to never feel afraid to use your voice, and don’t underestimate your own strengths. No matter what stage you’re at in life, you’re never done growing as a human, and it’s never too late to take risks and take on something you never thought you could handle. I promise you’ll be amazed by the person you become as a result. Always search for empowerment within yourself, and celebrate those around you that inspire you to do better!