My road back home

The past two years have not been a straight path for me. Yet the curves and bends brought me exactly where I needed to be — home. Emma Conway photo.

Sophomore year was a slap in the face. Between a break up, a car accident and multiple moves, I found myself beat down, broken and empty by May. While I had incredible friends, family-like coworkers and wise mentors in Madison that got me through the year, I knew regaining my full self would require a large change — coming home.

After nearly two years in Madison, I moved back to Cannon Falls, Minnesota May 11. I had accepted a communications internship with the City of Northfield, and was excited to be working for my “second hometown.” Now, as the final week of my internship and summer comes to a close, I can confidently say my heart needed this summer.

Small town life can be slow. Readjusting was harsh at first, but I slowly fell in love with the measured pace again. I had missed minimal traffic, hometown restaurants and community members. Most of all, I had missed my family.

Instead of a quick weekend here or a brief phone call there, we have been together the past four months. Activities I used to take for granted like cabin weekends in the U.P. and cousin dinners in River Falls became times I cherished. While crucial, family wasn’t the only thing that helped heal my heart.

My internship with the City of Northfield let me get back to my roots — feature stories. Interviewing local business owners and sharing their stories on Feel-good Fridays was the most rewarding part of my internship. Connecting with community members solidified what I knew before — Northfield is filled with great people who care about their community.

While features became my focus, I grew in other areas throughout my internship also. I designed a marketing campaign, captured community B-roll, created timely press releases and wrote speeches for the Mayor. I was able to improve my photo and video editing skills through Adobe Lightroom and Premiere. I even reflected upon my 10-week experience with KYMN. These acquired skills will certainly be used throughout my journalism journey as I head back to Madison.

Leaving home again in a few weeks will not be easy, yet I am excited to start my third year in UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. I will be returning as Good Shepherd Lutheran Church’s Media Assistant, working with Lutheran Campus Ministries as a features reporter and interning with Phillipa Hartley as her power of mentorship journalism intern. In between classes and work, you’ll find me at events for Kappa Alpha Theta and meetings for Greek InterVarsity.

I will be busy, but I know this summer helped me rebuild a strong foundation to be successful. I’m thankful for the City of Northfield, my family and the memories this summer has given me.

Now is the time to go back to Madison. Now is the time to turn towards the same fantastic support system that got me through year two. Now is the time to write year three.

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