“If the profession is truly yours, it will always find you”
Kseniia Petrova is a member of the first generation of students to graduate from UWC Dilijan in Armenia (2014-2016). After graduating from UWC in May 2016, Kseniia spent her gap year working in her home country, Russia, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from Methodist University in the USA.
Kseniia’s journey as a journalist started when she was 16 years old. Back in her hometown of Priosersk, Kseniia got enrolled in a short course for young journalists and completely fell in love with the profession. She began working at a local newspaper, and just a year after writing her first article she was officially employed as a reporter. Kseniia’s articles have since been recognised in journalistic competitions at the local, regional and state levels.
“I knew that I had found a profession that I enjoyed doing and that I was good at,” says Kseniia. “Yet, I also knew that my family would not be able to sponsor my education at a university to study journalism.”
A UWC scholarship gave Kseniia a chance to follow her dream. As soon as she arrived at UWC Dilijan, Kseniia got involved in several different initiatives, including, of course, creating a school newspaper. She was a part of the College’s first magazine, “ATLAS”, in her first year and took on the role of editor-in-chief of the College newspaper, “UWCDijest”, during her second year of studies.
“Our magazine was a good start,” says Kseniia, “However, we soon realised that it was mostly designed for promotional purposes, while we wanted to be able to express our thoughts about the UWC experience more freely. Therefore, we came up with the idea of an internal newspaper, which would not be read by people outside our close-knit community.”
Although these publications were sadly discontinued after Kseniia’s graduation, they were a valuable contribution to the College experience, especially for the students who took part in creating them.
After studying at UWC Dilijan, Kseniia decided to go back home despite many people having told her that getting into Russia’s journalism world would be almost impossible. Kseniia tried different jobs while in Russia: a receptionist in a hotel, a secretary in a sales company, a PR manager in a museum, and an assistant director of a dance school. She even tried to study a different profession at a university: Kseniia spent a semester going to the Russian Custom Academy. Nevertheless, journalism was still her passion: “I started doubting if journalism was a good enough profession for me, so I decided to try something else. The more I was working in and studying other professional areas, the more I was sure that I did not belong there.”
Today, Kseniia is a top student in the Mass Communications department at Methodist University in the United States. Apart from holding straight “As” in her major, she is an active member of many university organisations, including the university’s Speech and Debate team and the MU Reports News Show. Apart from her extracurricular activities, Kseniia works for the University Relations department of the University, where she writes for the magazine “MU Today” and takes pictures of events taking place on campus.
“This is my place,” she says. “I finally feel that I found my peace. I am enjoying my classes and my work. My professors and my colleagues are experienced professionals from whom I get to learn something new every day. Journalism is my everything, and I am happy to be with people who share my passion. For now, my goal is to learn as much as I can both in and outside of the classroom. I hope that one day I will be able to pass this knowledge on to others and help make the world a more media-literate place.”