I was one of those lucky few who was actually at the right place at the right time.

In the fall of 1996, I was just starting my second year with the campus magazine of my college, and my first as the publication’s editor. When I had joined the staff as the Sports Editor during my first year at the school (due to my tremendous love of athletic competition), it was in fact the magazine’s first year of existence. To celebrate and to kick off the second year right, we decided to hold a conference and invite local media personalities to speak about their jobs to the public.

Getting the conference set up was a lot of work for all of us – student staff and faculty alike. We had to schedule a place and time, get the administration’s approval to host the event, contact the newscasters and reporters we wanted to attend, promote the event, write and design programs for the event, and even handle catering. The hard work paid off immensely, though.

After the event concluded, successfully I might add, one of my journalism professors introduced me to one of the speakers – the local paper’s City Editor. She told that she had read some of my work in the college’s magazine and that she was impressed. I was floored. She wasn’t finished, though. She went on to say that the paper was currently looking for freelance correspondents, and that she felt I should send in my resume and some clips.

I did so, but the City Editor didn’t hire me. Instead, she forwarded my information over to the paper’s sports desk, where the editor decided to give me a shot as a stringer. At the age of 17, and without a college degree to my name, I had landed steady work – covering my beloved sports, no less. The pay wasn’t great – $20 per story – but that didn’t matter. I was officially a professional!

The moral (yes, sadly, I’m afraid there is one, folks) is that you should always give 100-percent no matter what, because you never know just when or where your big break will show up.

Chuck Bednar is an Ohio-based freelance writer and editor. He is the author of three sports-related books, as well as a former Baseball Editor for a major online Web site. Bednar has also served as a business columnist, book reviewer, and trivia writer. You can visit him online at: