When I was a kid my mom wouldn't allow me to introduce myself by my first name only. I couldn't just say "Lauren." I had to say "Lauren Johnson." My Mom used to tell me, "There are a lot of Lauren's, but one day your name will mean something.
I was thrilled to meet up with Lauren and discuss her interest in journalism. She also let me pick her brain about the steps she's taken to find success in such a tough industry. Check out the interview below!
I lived with my mother, and she's a very strong person. She took on the role of breadwinner, often working two or more jobs to provide for us. Even with all of that on her shoulders, she was always there for me emotionally. For example, I remember a time when she held down three jobs and still managed to be head of the PTA at my school.
For instance, I was in second grade at Greenville Elementary and one day my Mom came to my class. This sort of gave her the opportunity to observe me in that setting. And she noticed that, unlike the other students in my class, I wasn't talking or playing. Instead, I'd finish my work very quickly and then I'd help the teacher pass out papers or decorate the classroom or something like that. So, that very same day, Mom had a talk with me. She basically said, "Lauren, I'm transferring you to another school."
And that's exactly what she did. She had me transferred to a school called Shenandoah Elementary. Honestly, I didn't want to go. Greenville was near our house and I was used to going to school there. But my mom explained that she saw my potential and she didn't want it to go to waste. She wanted me to go to a school where I'd be exposed to the kind of education that would benefit me in the long run.
That being said, going to the new school came with challenges. I looked different from the other kids and some of them would tease me. In addition to this, Shenandoah Elementary was incredibly far from our neighborhood. It was, literally, on the other side of the city. At the time, my mom didn't have a car and, as I mentioned earlier, she had to work. That meant I had to navigate several transfer buses to get to school everyday. That also meant that if I got sick, I couldn't stay home. I'd have to go to school with my medications and Kleenex and do my best to make it through the day. Similarly, if I got sick while I was at school, I couldn't call home and ask Mom to pick me up.
Despite the challenges, I made it through. My mom's "don't-cry-over-spilled-milk" mindset came in handy during that time period and I give her a lot of credit for where I am today.
Locals were gathering and listening to music in commemoration of Alton Sterling. This wasn't rioting. I immediately recognized what these locals were doing as a cultural or traditional act that I'm very familiar with.
Another very positive aspect of my job is that it's a way for me to be an active member of my community. I have the chance to tell our stories and provide much needed information.
I'll never forget ... when I was an intern a news director told me to work on my "image." And by "image" he meant my weight. That goes hand in hand with putting up with the "no's" you'll get in this business and the need to keep going despite them- and the need to stay true to who you are. If you don't support yourself, no one else will.
In conclusion, her mother was correct- Lauren Johnson is definitely a name to remember!