Megan in Alaska.jpg​​"For me, life in Alaska is not all that different from life in Michigan, which I suppose may come as a disappointment to some. I still live in a small apartment in a small town, working for a community-driven newspaper. That's not to say there are absolutely no differences. Catching a glimpse of snow-capped mountains on my drive to work each morning took some getting used to, and not in a bad way. Any new place or opportunity is what you make of it. I could have chosen to move to a more populated or busy part of the state, or I could have stayed to look for work in the journalism field in Michigan, but neither of those options would have given me what I wanted to make out of my first few years out of school. I found out I liked small, quirky communities, and not just the news they have to offer - though chainsaw carving competitions and music festivals named after fish are unique small-town events I will always be glad I was there to witness. Since arriving in Kenai, I've fallen in love with the city, the people, the culture and the seemingly uninhibited wildlife, from the moose I pass by on late night or early morning walks to fish jumping far out in the water. I guess I could do without the mammoth-sized mosquitoes, but Michigan prepared me pretty well for that. 

Applying for a spot at the Peninsula Clarion was honestly a shot in the dark. I can't remember how many companies I submitted materials to before I got a bite. As soon as I got the call, though, I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't take a chance on the Last Frontier and the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai. One thing's for sure: I would never have taken the chance to apply so far away were it not for select, special members of CMU's journalism faculty who did much more for me in the way of encouragement and support than a textbook or a degree could ever have done. My boundaries were pushed by my professors, which I think made me less afraid to push them in real life. 

Working a beat at the Clarion is not like working a beat at other newspapers. One day, I'm making the rounds at the courthouse where the security guards are getting to know me by the contents of my purse, the next I'm waking to the sounds of high tide on the mouth of the Kenai River, camped out on the beach for a story on the dipnet salmon season. This job is as varied as Alaska's culture and people, and for that I am exceedingly grateful." ​ - Alum Megan Pacer​ works as a public safety reporter for the Peninsula Clarion