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ACP | Hosting my first panel, fear and the conference

I had been nervous the whole weekend for this, thinking of topics to discuss. I just kept writing things down, pacing back and forth in the hotel room when no one was paying attention.

I’d been nervous that entire weekend. Nervous about what shoes I should wear, about networking, about being myself at the Associate Collegiate Press conference. In fact, this was my first time at a journalism conference. Fearful much? Definitely.

On Sunday, I hosted my first panel (ever): “How Queer” with The Campanil Editor-In-Chief, Ari, and the Managing Editor, Emily. At first, I was scared about whether I should occupy this space because I saw so many white journalists this entire weekend. Walking into it as a queer woman of color, I felt strange and was expecting the worst — like people invalidating my experiences as a journalist, editor and a queer woman of color. Overall, I was just on my guard.

While the panel was happening, I drank a lot water in order for me to not talk or show nervousness. However, the panel actually went different from what I had originally thought. It was a welcoming space, thanks to Ari and Emily. I think the moment a part of myself showed was when I started speaking about equality and respect about LGBTQ issues. I saw other journalists and editors nodding and smiling after I said that.

Overall, the panel went well, I’d say. I’m glad that I got to host this panel with Ari and Emily. I learned so much as a panelist and a listener, and I felt this was the first welcoming space where I felt like I could be myself.