Opinion: My Midwest Dream



Regina Garcia Cano

Regina Garcia Cano

Regina Garcia Cano is a Senior newspaper journalism major and the editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

I find myself in airports and airplanes at least once every four months, typically the time between my visits to Mexico City, where I was born and raised and my family still lives, and my semesters of college.

Skymall doesn’t do it for me. I don’t think I will ever find a marshmallow shooter useful. And I refuse to pay for on-demand movies or satellite radio. Thus, my trips give me the opportunity to meet the person sitting next to me in a matter of hours.

The conversation with the businessman, real estate agent or Iraq veteran often begins on the destination’s weather, traffic, restaurants, etc. But inevitably, after I’ve mentioned I’m a college student, the passenger flying in the uncomfortable middle seat — I get only window seats — asks me, “So, what’s your major?”

“I’m a newspaper journalism student,” I say. Immediately after, I hear an “Ohh.” And trying to avoid that awkward silence, the passenger follows up by asking, “So, where do you plan on working?”

“On a newspaper,” I answer confidently.

And at least three conversations have ended in something to the effect of “Hmm. Well, good luck with that.” And the passenger proceeds to read or sleep.

None of the passengers’ answers related to my major really convince me. And it’s not the good luck that bothers me, but the initial “Ohh;” that same “Ohh” relatives and friends repeatedly said from the time I was in sixth grade and decided to go to college for journalism, to the day I left Mexico City to enroll at Kent State.

I want to be a journalist because I sincerely believe journalism is the black box of society’s conscience. I want to be responsible for recording society’s history, uncovering reasons for failure and providing people with information to avoid repeating mistakes. I want to help break the nontraditional barriers of ignorance, not illiteracy or school dropout, but the increasing detachment of society from what is happening in its surroundings. I want to hold the powerful accountable.

For some people, these may all seem unattainable goals. But for those people, it also seemed impossible that I could one day obtain an undergraduate degree from an American institution.

I came to college in the United States to get the broader education I couldn’t get in Mexico. I wanted to understand life in another country and live under the First Amendment. It is a decision I’ll never regret. College has taught me three rules people should abide by:

1) Stick to your gut.
2) Don’t be a pushover — by any means.
3) At the end of the day, enjoy whatever it is that you are doing. Life is too short; one cannot afford to be afraid of asking, trying, doing, acting, playing, etc…

So if you are rejected from a university’s artistic performance, try again. And again. And again. Next time you don’t understand a topic in class, raise your hand; the professor can’t guess you have a question unless you bring it up. And if you’re taking pictures for a photo project and the lights aren’t right and your equipment isn’t working, take a deep breath and smile. Believe in yourself or nobody else will.

In about two weeks, I’ll be flying on Continental’s flight 6255. And my answer is ready for the person in seat 22 E: “I’m a proud newspaper journalism graduate.”

Contact Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].