Identity Crisis

I’ve made the joke before, but it’s true that I decided to get into journalism because of Spiderman. Actually , it was because of Peter Parker. I was on my marketing co-op this time last year, driving around Scarborough, stuck in traffic on a particularly unpleasant day.

I was in debt, I was destroying my car and I was driving around for up to 12 hours a day in questionable areas to say the least. All this was in order to service a promotion program for some already rich company who wanted to gather some extra (and possibly entirely useless) market research.

It was at that very moment in Scarborough that I decided I wanted to do something different with my life. I wasn’t immediately sure what that was. After all, it had been two solid years of marketing at this point, being groomed for a career in the industry.  So I asked myself, WWSD?  “What would Spiderman do?”

The main problem was that I needed a career, I needed money but I wanted to be happy. Well, when Spidey wants to blow off steam he swings to the nearest crime scene and beats thugs into a pulp.  The only problem there was my apparent lack of super powers. So crime fighting was, sadly, not an option.

But the great thing about Spiderman is that he’s really Peter Parker. The great thing about Peter Parker is that he has real problems. He needs money, he has to pay rent and take girls out on dates. So what does Parker do for cash? He’s a journalist.

Ok granted, he’s more accurately a photo-journalist, and for the longest time he was a free-lance photographer, but that’s where I got the inspiration.  If it helps, we’ll just say Eddie Brock, who was a journalist of the regular variety, was the real inspiration.

So, when I went back to school for my summer semester, I got a hold of Josiah, he forwarded some of the things I had written in the past to former editor Ryan. Ryan started sending me assignments for the print, I got in touch with Bryan who was kind enough to post my blogs and I’ve been writing away ever since.

Not to kiss ass, but the TRAVIS experience has been great. It’s rewarding, fun, challenging and everybody has been super cool, encouraging and helpful. I feel like I’m learning a lot and (hopefully) getting better.  It’s been driving me to get into journalism as a career in a big bad way.

But it’s been hard to break away from marketing.  Marketing has been good for me in a lot of ways. It makes you more aggressive, competitive and knowledgeable for the real world. Principals you take away from marketing can aid you in just about any field of interest you have.

So I don’t regret my 3 years of marketing, but the conflict is do I continue on this path, or move on to journalism? Sure, finding a job will be easier in marketing, and a much more lucrative one at that. Also, two more years of school isn’t exactly appealing, but journalism is just so much more liberating.  It’s not that I think it’s the “easy” path either.  Like anything worth doing, I can see that it requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

Thus, my identity crisis. I’m trying to decide who I’ll be after college. Spidey has gone through a few identity crises, but most famously, when the wall crawler was torn between his classic red and blue outfit and his sinister black one.

Journalism is my red and blue suit. It’s my true colors, it’s a suit I really like wearing (no tights jokes please) and who I’d really like to be.  Marketing then is the black suit. It’s got some definite benefits and it looks cool, but it’s stuck on me. Like the alien symbiote, marketing and I are two separate things, and the longer I keep wearing it, the more it sinks its claws into me.

So, do I rip off the venomous black suit and don the classic, true to myself red and blue threads? Or do I stay with the slick black suit and reap the full benefits?  I’m torn between the two.

Of course I’d ultimately like to be able to combine the two and use skill sets from both in my life and I’m sure I will. But we can’t always be two people.  Oh well, the identity crisis continues.

Your friendly neighbourhood,

– Chris D’Alessandro

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