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I wanted to share a personal story for this week’s edition of The Dive.

In the spring of 2017, I was getting ready to graduate from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism with a degree in broadcast journalism. All I’ve ever wanted to be was a professional sports journalist, and I was now one step away from achieving that dream.

Until I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I attended WrestleMania 33 that year, and my game plan changed. I wanted to work in wrestling. I didn’t know how, but I wanted to get myself to work for WWE in some capacity. It was too late to change degrees, but I figured there had to be a way to use my degree in pro wrestling.

Fun fact: getting into the wrestling business is hard. Like extremely difficult. I applied for a bunch of entry-level jobs at WWE, trying to be a production assistant or a writer. None of it worked.

I had to figure out the next step then. I knew some people who worked in independent wrestling and always thought it would be cool to be a manager, ring announcer, play-by-play guy, etc. This would be the path I set out on next. I met a group of people who set up rings around the Chicagoland area and was going to use this as a way to get my “in” to the business.

After a few months, I realized this wasn’t the most profitable path to take in the world. So now I was really stuck between a rock and a hard place. It had been six months since I graduated college, I had no steady job or income, I was living with my parents and really had no set plan for what I wanted to do with my life.

I decided to start applying for journalism jobs again.

I applied for everything. TV, radio, newspaper. You name it, and I sent in an application for it. I had a wide variety of experience from my days in high school and college, so I felt confident in applying for a wide range of jobs.

Within two months, I had a new job to become a sports reporter for a weekly community paper in southeast Nebraska. I hadn’t been a newspaper writer since my senior year of high school, so I was excited to test my writing skills once again.

After four months of really good work, I decided I wanted to test the waters a little bit. I felt the content I was writing was strong, and I wanted to see if I could maybe move up in the world (no offense to southeast Nebraska, but there are bigger things out there to cover than summer league baseball, lol).

I applied for some jobs and immediately heard back from a newspaper in Indiana called The Goshen News. They wanted to bring me in to be a sports reporter for them. One of the things I’d get to cover: Notre Dame football.

Wow. In a matter of seven months, I went from having no idea what I wanted to do with my life, to covering Notre Dame football for a daily paper in Indiana.

The time I spent off from journalism, after graduation, and before my Nebraska job, was huge in me getting to where I am today. I was able to see the world of professional wrestling through a different lens, while also re-affirming to me that I should use my college degree to my advantage. It helped me re-set myself, and I was able to find my true passion for writing again because of it.

I now sit here less than three weeks away from covering Notre Dame vs. Michigan in the season opener in primetime at Notre Dame Stadium. I truly believe this wouldn’t have happened without pro wrestling.

Austin Hough

Author Austin Hough

A young journalist who loves sports, journalism, and professional wrestling. Chicago raised, Mizzou Made, Indiana paid (currently).

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