Horan is a renowned journalist who spent the majority of her career overseas covering occurrences in the Middle East.
She returned back to the states in 2001 where she soon joined forces with the Chicago Tribune. However, she continued to report on the on-goings in the Middle East. More specifically, the Muslim immigrant community and the war in Iraq.
Since 2002, she has been a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, as well as a teacher about the Middle East and journalism at small liberal arts colleges through that program.
This is just a very short summary of the extraordinary life that Deborah Horan has lived.
When she came to Lindenwood to speak to journalism students about her career, I was completely ignorant as to what to expect. Admittedly, I did not do my homework and research her before she came to my class.
And honestly, I’m glad I didn’t because it would have ruined the surprise. I’m not sure what I was thinking before the speech but I sure as hell wasn’t prepared to be as affected as I was. But maybe not for obvious reasons.
However, Deborah mentioned many aspects of becoming successful journalists. One main point was that you have to take risks. You have to be willing to put yourself out into the world and be willing to fail before you succeed.
Another point is that to be a journalist, you cannot be afraid. In order for Deborah to get her hard-hitting stories in the Middle East, she had to face an incredible amount of danger, and she had to take proper precautions. Most importantly, blending in.
However, if you don’t want to be a journalist who reports on life in the Middle East then Deborah had some advice for that as well. As journalists, we need to find our niche.
Anyone can be a journalist, but if we want a successful career then we need to find something we are passionate about and become experts on it. Whether it’s cars, food, fashion, beauty, politics or music, journalists need to be able to offer something new and exciting in order to be respected.
Once Deborah took her leave, I was consumed with thoughts and impressions.
One of her ending comments was, “you need to decide what’s important, and go for it.”
This women has had a commendable life. A life filled with adventure and danger. Not to mention, an immense amount of satisfaction.
She traveled all around the world and met a countless number of people. She learned about diverse cultures and even learned how to speak Arabic.
Deborah made a difference in the world as a result of the life she has chosen to live.
Watching her speak and detail her story made me think I want to make a difference, I want to have an impact on someone’s life. But whose life shall I impact?
This is the question that has kept me sleepless at night.
Deborah has had an extraordinary life. But in order for her to have such a successful career she had to give up so much. She left her friends and family for 8+ years.
I cannot help but think, what is more important? Your dream job? Or your dream life? And can they coexist? And if they can’t… how do you choose?
I have known forever that I want to travel; and after spending an unforgettable summer in Italy I know that there is so much more I want to see. I would love a career that could take me there.
However, what if the love of my life can’t come with me.
What if my family begs me to stay.
What if I miss out on adventures calling my name from across the world.
How do I decide on what’s most important.
I have been thinking about this so much that I have a permanent migraine. I am graduating in a year so it is about that time I need to start figuring my life out.
After much thought, I cannot imagine a life without love and family. If I can have both my dream career and a loving and happy personal life, then I would say I hit the jack-pot.
But a life without love would not be living to me. And I am far too selfish to not want that love immediately. My career can follow after; I have no doubt in my mind that I will someday get there.
After all, when I’m on my death bed I want to have someone I love holding my hand; when that time comes, I won’t want or care to hold the pages documenting my career.
So yes, I want to make a difference. I want to have an impact. But before I target the universe, I think I’ll stick with my own little world.
header photo credit: www.executive-communication.com