Bri Watkins is a 21-year-old journalism student from Wichita Falls.
Bey: Why journalism?
Watkins: I chose journalism after I read a book called “Captivating” by Stasi Eldredge. Before that I was an education major. I knew I always loved to write and teach, those were always kind of my passions. When I took my college writing class here at Texas State, I fell even more in love with writing. This book called “Captivating” kind of explains how we all have a voice and that we all want our voices to be heard. So that book just really inspired me to be like, “Okay, yeah!” I (wanted) to choose journalism to bring my voice into the world and in that, also to bring news to the community.
B: What made you choose Texas State?
W: I had no idea where San Marcos was. I had never heard of Texas State as I was a senior in high school. I knew I always loved the Austin area. I was talking to my counselor one time and she had mentioned Texas State and that I should go tour it. So I took a tour here and completely fell in love. Especially coming from north Texas, Wichita Falls was just in a stage five drought. It’s a brown, kind of dry area so, moving down here where I got to see rivers and green grass and trees; really I just fell in love with a new part of Texas.
B: What do you want to do with your journalism degree?
W: That is the question that I’m still trying to figure out. My dream is to be a part of something that empowers another or empowers a place. I want to be a part of something that kind of has a helping hand to the world. So anything I can find within that. I want to use the writing skills that I gain through school in order to make a movement wherever I work.
B: What is your favorite thing about San Marcos since you’ve started living here?
W: I would probably say how artistic the town is and there’s so many personalities to San Marcos. Whether it’s in the people or the shops downtown. I enjoy listening to music, painting, doing kind of artistic hobbies and so I love that I can kind of go downtown and hear random shows. Also, I’ve run into the Rio Claro studio which is a very fun, artistic place. The owner there is incredible. Then also, there’s this wine lounge that just opened up that showcases a lot of local artisans. So I think it’s really cool that San Marcos really tries to bring up a kind of artistic culture here.
B: Would you consider yourself an artist or have you ever had any of your work shown anywhere?
W: I haven’t had it shown anywhere. No, but I also enjoy writing poetry and I love blogging as well. So I’ve gotten to do some of those things through assignments in my classes. I would love to maybe get some out there and do something with them later on. But right now, it’s more of a hobby.
B: So, what got you into your hobbies with art?
W: I think a lot of different things adding up. I grew up loving to read and so kind of through books, I feel like a lived in a dream-like world. I kind of feel like an artist is always a dreamer. They’re always dreaming up their creativity or what they want to paint, what music they want to create or what book they want to write. So I think reading definitely caused that dream-like mind set and from there I kind of fell in love with other things. Whenever I was an education major, I took an art class my freshman year and fell in love with the different kinds of art. I got to play around with different ways to create art on paper. I also enjoy art through listening to music, through coffee, through wine. There’s so many different ways you can enjoy art, you know.
B: What’s your day-to-day life aside from school and art?
W: So, it’s kind of a crazy lifestyle. I feel like it’s always on the go and I haven’t really gotten to do a lot of my hobbies that I would like to do for myself. But right now, I have class two times a week all day long. I’m a Young Life leader and I’m a leader at San Marcos High School so I kind of reach out to kids there. Monday nights, I get to hang out with high schoolers, befriend them, share Jesus with them. I also work on the weekends so I have a source of income. I also work for the University Star.
B: How is it interacting with high school kids talking about something very controversial in this day in age? What do you get from that experience and what do you give?
W: I didn’t grow up in a Christian household. So it was never talked about. We never went to church or anything. So Young Life was kind of my outlet where I got to hear my first understanding of Jesus through my Young Life leader who poured into me all through my high school years. I would say I believed because I thought I was bad if I didn’t believe, you know. But, I can say I was really a follower then. Then, when I graduated high school, I went to a camp and that’s where I surrendered my life to Jesus and decided to walk my life with Him and for Him. Then, I came to Texas State and went through leadership program and became a leader myself. So this experience has been crazy because San Marcos High School is a school that has a lot of brokenness there whereas any high school does. But, I don’t know. There’s something different about that high school. Living in a town that is below poverty, you just see so much pain, heartache, broken families and I wasn’t used to that growing up in my hometown. I have about five consistent girls who I pour into who have gotten super close. It’s crazy because in high school, I feel like they’re all searching for some sort of happiness, some sort of joy. So when I get to share Jesus with them they’re like, “Oh yeah! Of course I want to live my life with Jesus. Why wouldn’t I? I see joy through you so like, I want to do that.” But I feel like high school is a hard place to follow up with what they say. So I’ve seen that a little bit. They want this life but yet, they don’t know how with the life they are used to living walking through high school. So I realize consistency really is key to them because my Young Life leader was consistent with me. (They) kept pursuing me all throughout high school. No matter how many times I would be like, “Oh yeah! I’m following this Jesus guy. But, really not following Him at all.” So, still loving them despite whatever they do through high school is my number one goal and to continue to pour Jesus to them.
B: How hard is it being a media student and at the same time being religious? Are there any conflicts that you’ve come across?
W: I haven’t come across any huge conflicts. I know I shouldn’t, in any of my writings or whatever, express my beliefs in that because I know that maybe that could turn a lot of people off. But, at the same time, it’s so important for people to know that I live my life for Jesus, you know. So I haven’t run into any conflict with that yet but, I feel like I will one day as I keep pursuing this career path just because I know a lot of people have different opinions. I get that and I want to be open-minded but, yet I also want to live out what I believe and not let any judgements really get to me.
By Travis Tyler SXSW Press Team For all you Scandal watchers, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress Kerry Washington stopped by South by Southwest Interactive for a broad discussion with InStyle editorial director Ariel Foxman on social media. Well-spoken and charming, Kerry let the audience into her world. From maintaining her privacy, to personal branding or even how she uses social media to stand up for issues important to her. […]
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