Staying positive is something I struggle with—at least that’s what people tell me.

I’m told I view life’s proverbial glass as half empty. I say I see the glass at 50 percent, what it really is.

Whatever the case, I’m not pessimistic by nature, I just see things as they are. What I will admit: being a realist takes a toll on my psyche and I’m left mentally drained trying to solve problems that don’t have a concrete solution.

Usually I can turn to music, sports, my closest friends or a little quiet time to provide an escape and recharge my internal batteries, but lately I haven’t had much time for anything but school, work and The Progress. It’s been much more difficult to get through the daily grind as a result and I’ve had to rely on faith that it’s all going to work out.

While I may be running on faith fumes, one thing did help me get to this point and that was seeing that I wasn’t the only one going through the same troubles.

In late October The Progress staff went to the Associated Collegiate Press National Conference in New Orleans. All aspects of student media discussed, dissected and deconstructed, to help provide a respite for bustling college campuses and the high-stress environment of the newsroom.

I met dozens of other college news editors, writers and advisers who were going through the exact same struggles I was down to the T. I went to several forums where editors talked about the issues in the newsrooms.

The thing that stood out the most about the convention was its upbeat tenor. It was very different than the horror stories and bad press that has become typical of the newspaper/media profession. People were happy. Students had problems, but they were dedicated to their craft. Veteran advisers who’ve left the field and current professionals pitched solutions, innovative ideas and shared conventional wisdom.

It was a definite recharger after a dreadful semester.

I have learned to value events like this, because professionals going into a field need encouragement and a bright outlook. Hearing people talk about the possibilities, not the plight, goes a long way.

When I hear about the gloom and doom of journalism, I often wonder why the industry doesn’t invest in better public relations. Sure things aren’t perfect, but there are quite a few things worth talking about.

In my experience, the future looks bright. I’ve met many young, talented people who understand the value of old school journalism, while understanding the changing media. As we begin to take reigns of the industry, I feel you’ll see a shift away from looking solely at the profitability of TMZ’s of the world to a more balanced, honest, nuanced approach to the news.

It won’t be a quick shift, but it will happen. It will take like-minded people getting together and working together on college campuses, in newsrooms and at professional conferences and events.

Wesley Robinson is a journalism senior. Email