Jessica Jacolbe ‘15
B.A. in Journalism and New Media Studies
"I was fortunate enough to have choices when I applied for college. Having gone to a high school established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Fontbonne Hall Academy, I applied to SJC and received a full scholarship based on my academics. On the other hand, I also had the choice to go to a large university that was well-known for being one of the most expensive in the country.
"I could either be a small fish in a large ocean filled with sharks that would eventually hunt me down for student loans, or attend the college where I would have the opportunity to be a big fish in a sustainable ecosystem. Thankfully, I chose the latter.
"Whether I knew it before college or not, I was always interested in writing. It was something that I always happened to be doing, and it became a habit that I did not know could become my career. The Journalism & New Media Studies program at SJC started in my sophomore year, the year that I declared my major. My classmates and I were the program’s guinea pigs. I became a double major in Journalism and Economics to satisfy my love for both writing and numbers. It has become a prime time for journalists who are able to publish and edit their own stories, whether they are long-form blogs or 140-character tweets.
"My main purpose for going to college was to learn more about myself than anything else. After months of changing majors, regretting classes, and loving classes I never thought I would, I took time to narrow down what it was that I wanted to focus on. While other students know exactly what they want at 18 years old, I did not want my decisions at 18 years old to be set in stone. Along the way, I made connections and close friends that have carried on until after school and into my professional life. Every person that I have encountered in college became essential to all the opportunities that I have had.
"[After graduating SJC] I decided to apply for anything and everything. One of those applications went to Cambridge University in the UK. I was accepted into a short-term creative writing program that would help hone and develop my writing skills. How could I refuse?
"It would be impossible to be who I am right now if I had not joined the college newspaper in the fall of my freshman year. It was one of the most important things I have done during college that I take full pride in. Beginning as a staff writer then eventually becoming the Editor-in-Chief in my junior year, I spent so much time running The Spirit that there was nothing else I could do. Being a part of The Spirit required my full participation in SGA, which is another powerful student organization on campus. I learned about leadership, mainly nudging writers to write and submit on deadline, a seemingly impossible task. It taught me to be unafraid to ask questions to people I would not otherwise speak to. I realized just how powerful writing is, and how much it has a direct impact on not only the school but the readers."
If you had to give one reason for a student to choose St. Joseph’s College, what would it be?
"Come for the free food, stay for the family."
Did you study abroad, and if so, what was the experience like?
"Studying abroad in Spain during my freshman year cemented my belief that travelling is just as important, if not more than, as sitting in the classroom. SJC offered a grant for freshmen to travel to Granada and Seville in Spain, which I quickly applied for and received. The course focused on religion as reflected in Spanish and English Literature which culminated into an almost two-week long trip to southern Spain. I did not expect to already be travelling to another country in my first year of college, and yet I did. I did not speak the language well, and yet I made friends. I did not know my way around the streets, and after hours of being lost, it was thrilling."
Aside from content material, what is the best lesson a professor taught you in class?
"As I mentioned before, being on the college newspaper taught me more than a single journalism class. Our club moderator, Tom Hoefner, pushed our staff writers, especially me, into writing stories that were out of our comfort zone. After writing my first controversial article, it made me hungry for more. In my sophomore year, I was forced to interview people I would have been too shy to even greet. Writing articles and stories that answered the questions posed by myself and my peers, made me into a better writer, editor, and person. "
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
"The most reasonable would be Larry David, aka Larry D aka Larr aka Larry Davey aka L.D."
If you made front page news, what would be the headline?
First Woman to Not Be Mentioned That She is the First Woman to Do Something
Jessica Jacolbe’s TV Series Cancelled; It’s Okay Because Snapchat Picked It Up
Jessica Jacolbe Invited to Speak at SJC Event; Students Ask, “Who’s She?”