My liberal arts education gave me the time to explore and learn and challenge myself to try things in the area of communication that I might fail or succeed at. Because of this education I stumbled into the campus radio station – and, although I was shy, I was dragged into filling in for a broadcast student who was sick. I read the news that day and found out that I had a voice and that I could read live on air without making mistakes as if I had pre-taped it. I was shocked. I had no idea that this broadcasting moment might be my destiny. Let me add that my heart was pounding and I was terrified, lest any student think it was a breeze - it was not. But slowly, through experience at the campus station I was able to learn my craft.
Our parents teach us how to succeed, not how to fail, and no one ever talks about being confident enough to find one's talents - but learning how to fail at one thing and finding out what you feel you have the confidence to succeed at is what a liberal arts education is all about.
I feel strongly that the education I got is as much about confidence as anything. Every station I worked at had no full time women on the air as I was getting started. When I got into covering NASCAR there were no women on the national radio networks broadcasting the sport. I was told it would take ten years before a woman would be on those networks.
I encourage anyone who has not yet found their way to explore, to not be afraid of what particular major they take on but to be sure to try a lot of things and explore classes within the liberal arts platform that will enable you to try and fail, to stretch your talents and find out what your true passion and special gifts are.Claire B. Lang
NASCAR Anchor, XM Satellite Radio
UW-Eau Claire (1976)
Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award (2004)