UCA Programs, Support Prepares Me for Life After Graduation

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Contrary to popular belief, taking five years to graduate is not as glorious as Van Wilder makes it seem.

I’m currently writing this at 11 p.m in an editing booth with a bag of cheetos and two cups of coffee while I finish my thesis film.

Don’t get me wrong, it was really great. It just took me a full year to figure out how to get to where I needed to be and what I wanted in life.

I started my college career at Hendrix College, thinking it could offer a proper film curriculum — it couldn’t.

From there I transferred to North Western Arkansas community college before finally transferring to UCA.

I was so ecstatic that I spent the first night on campus passed out on a friend’s floor.

Keast smiles next to his twin sisters, Sarah and Samantha Keast.

Within the next few weeks, I was finally able to take actual film classes and from there discovered that I also wanted to try my hand at journalism.

For the past two years, I’ve worked for Channel 6 Sports and it has given me more experience than I could have ever expected.

I started as a camera guy on the sidelines for the football games, then moved up to an editor.

Then, for the past year, I’ve been a technical director for both Channel 6 Sports and the daily broadcast.

I’ve also had opportunities to work as a utility for both the SEC Network and ESPN.

I’ve even had the chance to work for the Bleacher Report.

Because of these experiences, I nabbed a job with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to work as their technical director for the rest of baseball season.

If you ever need some experience with sports broadcasting, talk to John Walls in Stanley Russ — he’ll put you to work.

Also, for the past year, I’ve gotten experience working on a newspaper while working on the Echo in its sports section.

From that experience, I learned how absolutely meticulous creating a newspaper page can be, but working in a newsroom was pretty fun, especially on the long Monday nights editing the page.

However, the lack of sleep from those long nights was not fun.

After the newspaper is done on Mondays, I deliver the papers across campus on Tuesday nights with Amanda, the news editor and my girlfriend, an all-around rockstar.

That is by far her favorite job, just ask her.

Anyway, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in college, it’s never say “no” to a project or a job if you can.

From working on movie sets, sports broadcasts and newspaper meetings — I’ve been skimping on those pretty much all semester, sorry guys — I’ve met tons of friends that I won’t soon forget.

But honestly, I’m just ready to move on to the next stage in life.

I’ve spent over 20 years in school — elementary, middle, high school and college — and I’m just ready to use what I’ve learned (or haven’t learned) to figure out what life is supposed to be for me.

Obviously, it helps to have such a good support system to lean on.

Both of my parents have been there for me throughout all of the good (and even the sometimes weird) decisions I’ve made.

No matter what, they have always been supportive and I’m truly thankful for them.

Now that graduation is finally almost here, I think back to what my high school Spanish teacher once told us at my high school graduation.

He said, “Today celebrate as hard as you can, and enjoy it as much as you can. But tomorrow work starts, so go to work.”

And I couldn’t think of a better saying to fit this moment.

Photo courtesy of Zach Keast.

 

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