I’m Payton Markijohn, and I’m currently a Communications Media student in my final year at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Despite changing my major twice I’ve made Dean’s List every semester, and I am graduating a year early. In addition to my studies I’m involved with productions for IUP-TV, an editor for IUP’s chapter of Her Campus magazine, and I’m a member and the editor for Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI), a professional music fraternity. When I’m not busy doing all of this I like to cultivate my many passions including learning and performing music, video games, rescue animals, volunteering for the Linus project, and of course mental health awareness and mindfulness.
Now given that I’m a Communications media student, you might be wondering how I developed a passion for mental health awareness and mindfulness. It might make more sense if I explain that I originally came to college as a psychology major. The workings of the mind had always fascinated me so I decided that would be a good career path. It wasn’t until I had my first panic attack after that semester that I realized why I was fascinated with psychology and how deep seeded my anxiety issues were. Even though I did very well my first semester it is at this point I decided I needed to go a different direction.
My second semester I was a music major. As I alluded to before performing music had always been one of my greatest passions, so I decided to follow my dreams and pursue music as a career. During this time, I also began to be more involved in activities. This was when I became a member of SAI to further my commitment to music. I also began to realize my potential as a writer when I started out as an editor for Her Campus IUP. As I entered my sophomore year, I accepted a position as co-president of Her Campus IUP, during which I was able to make the organization reach platinum level based off of content and exposure. During this time, I remained a music major, but the stress began to overwhelm me, and I realized that my passion for music was beginning to fizzle under the stress of my studies and running this magazine. In order to prevent my passion from dwindling any further, I decided that once again I needed to change the direction in which my life was headed.
After a lot of counseling from trusted faculty members, I made my most recent change of major and became a communications media student during the second half of my sophomore year. I found a way to combine my passion of music and career aspiration of working in entertainment in a way that made my goals achievable. During this time, I also began to become interested in the practice of mindfulness and found ways to incorporate it into my everyday life, and I will admit that I believe I owe a lot of my successes that have followed to my dedication to this practice. It was at this point that I also became involved with IUP-TV specifically working on the program Indie Rockers Ball (IRB). That year, IRB was awarded the titles “Best Show”, “Most Improved”, and “Best Set Design” by the Communications Media Department. I was also part of a group that made a short children’s film of the Aesop Fable: A Bear and the Two Travelers. The film, which was made for a class and presented at the end of the semester was awarded the Instructors Choice Award.
As you can see, I may not have a career just yet, but I’m certainly not shorthanded on experiences. The culmination of all my studies and activities have shaped me into the person and professional I am today.