#ProfilesofTenacity: Sam Chin

#ProfilesofTenacity: Sam Chin

April 25, 2023

Third-year journalism major and theatre minor Sam Chin finds motivation and fulfillment in storytelling and its ability to help others. Chin loves when their work has a positive impact on the public or brightens someone else’s day. Chin also emphasizes the importance of embracing curiosity, asking questions and trying new things.

What does “tenacity” mean to you?

Graphic showing Sam Chin's involvementTo me, tenacity is about being able to roll with the punches and bounce back from the challenges barring us from success. In all careers, but especially journalism, you’re sometimes faced with adversity that can seemingly appear out of nowhere. To be tenacious is to overcome these challenges while remaining mindful of one’s self-worth. Since tenacity is about overcoming adversity, I think it’s important that individuals take the time to recognize their own efforts when facing a barrier. I think that in life we often move past the adversity barring us from success like it was just a bump in the road. If you take the time to recognize that constant challenges aren’t normal, you might feel proud or happy about overcoming adversity. Let that pride and happiness fuel your mindset when tackling the next challenge. Recognize that being tenacious in itself is an accomplishment, and let that reinforce your spirit.

Why did you choose your major?

I think it was my curiosity that led me to pursue journalism. Looking back, I had never thought about a career in journalism until my senior year of high school. I knew that I wanted to do something related to storytelling whether that was film, theater, or fictional writing, but it wasn’t until COVID shut down the entertainment industry that I comprehended that I could pursue a career in non-fiction storytelling as well. All of a sudden, it just made sense. I realized how much of an impact human interest and travel journalism had on my adolescence, so I decided that I want to have that same impact on future generations. COVID usurped my life and brought an innumerable amount of grief into the world, but without it, I’m not sure that I’d be where I am today.

Chin (left) smiles for a picture with President of Esports at UGA, TJ Stephens, at Columbus State University’s Scholastic Gaming and Esports Conference in February. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
What is one piece of advice that you would give to other Grady students?

Live curiously and be adventurous. Let your natural curiosity lead you to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you see something that draws your curiosity, don’t be afraid to ask and learn about it. If you let yourself be curious and adventurous, it’ll lead to new opportunities and connections that seemingly appear out of nowhere. You’ll never know when the next big opportunity arises if you don’t even check out the pathway. So, the next time you see an interesting person, go up and talk to them. The next time your professor says something intriguing, go ask them about it. The next time something peaks your curiosity, go find out why. And don’t be afraid to do it.

Who is your professional hero?

Anthony Bourdain. Growing up, I must’ve spent countless hours watching Bourdain’s various travel shows. Watching him interact with so many people of different places and cultures so candidly really framed what a good documentarian looks like to me. Unobtrusive, charismatic, and genuine, Bourdain was able to break down barriers and provide his audience with an intimate view of what life looks like across the globe. He showed me the power of human connection and how a well-crafted interview can change lives.

Chin walks along at Kaihalulu Beach at North Shore, Oahu, HI. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?

During my time in Grady so far, I’ve been treated so incredibly well by the staff here that I couldn’t name just one. From Professor Coley teaching me the importance of concise writing, to Professor Shumway helping me perfect my camera work, all of the professors I’ve had so far have been incredibly kind and supportive. I will say, Dr. Peters is the one professor that’s given me exams that I thought were fun to take, and that’s an accomplishment in itself.

What is your most memorable Grady experience?

Having the opportunity to do a profile story on Vanessa Briscoe Hay. The opportunity arose last semester when I attended the WUOG 50th birthday concert. Pylon Reenactment Society performed that night, and because I had been randomly talking about local music with Professor Coley a few days prior, I knew about the band from her mentioning them to me. After hearing them perform, I was blown away and my interest peaked even more. I introduced myself to Hay and the band afterwards and told them I was interested in doing a profile story. Luckily, they agreed. I got to enjoy two more of their shows as well as interviews with both Hay and the rest of the bandmates while I worked on the story, and I learned an incredible amount about what the music scene in Athens used to be like. As a local, it was amazing learning about so much of this town’s rich musical history while connecting the dots to stories my parents had told growing up. It’s an experience I’ll always reflect on, and in a way it feels like it was my initiation into the world of journalism.

Where is your favorite study spot?

It’s rare to find an open classroom on the fifth floor of Grady, but if I ever find one available, I always love to do work there. There’s something energizing about the view up there that always makes me more productive. Hendershot’s definitely gets an honorable mention though. It’s my go-to for whenever I need some caffeine.

Professor Coley’s and her Journalism 3190 Fall 2022 students celebrate a great semester with a class selfie. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)
What motivates you?

For me, it’s the people whose stories I get to tell. When I realize that I’ve made a difference in their life by just being interested in what they have to say, it’s invigorating and refreshing. I love that my work can help the public and brighten people’s day, so when I see that happen or hear about how my work has impacted someone positively, it really does motivate me and make me smile.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

This is a tough one to answer. Ideally, I’d hope to be on the ocean, sailing around the world and telling stories about the places I go and the people I meet. It’s been a dream of mine to live on a sailboat and travel the globe while being a travel journalist. I’d love to be able to educate and inform people about all of the amazing cultures and places that the world has to offer while being able to go from place to place on my own. Although, I’m not sure if 5 years from now is a realistic timeline to achieve that goal. More likely, I hope to be doing travel journalism with a focus on videography. I hope to be able to work independently, but either solo, or with a production company, I’d love to be involved in a travel show or documentary.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
In 2022, Chin went freediving approximately 2 miles off the coast of Oahu’s North Shore. (Courtesy/Sam Chin)

I’m not sure this is the “best” piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, but it sure has stuck with me through everything I’ve done. It’s a bit cliche, but ever since I was a kid, my dad has always just said, “Do your best.” It’s simple, I know, but it really has changed the way I approach things. I used to always feel discontent with the work I would submit no matter the type of feedback I’d receive. I’d get a good grade on a paper yet always believe that it wasn’t good enough and that I could improve it. I don’t know when I finally started believing in the advice my dad gave, but it sure changed things. I began to approach my work thinking about the effort I was giving and how that effort made me feel. When I began to feel proud of my efforts, I stopped constantly thinking about the imperfections of my work and people’s opinions on it. Instead, I started thinking about how happy I am when I put my best effort into my work. Be mindful about how your work makes you feel, and just approach it with the mindset of doing your best.