Makayla Harris


COVID-19 and its mental effects


The most interesting stories to me are the ones where I learn about people. I noticed in my freshman year of college that I had a fascination with hearing personal stories and insider perspectives. I enjoy them because it gives me an opportunity to learn and become more aware of what is around me. This is why I decided to write a story about the perspective and experience others are facing mentally in COVID-19. I chose the mental component because usually, emotions are the hardest perspective to share because it takes a level of vulnerability, and therefore is less common, but questionably the most important topic for individuals. 

I decided to find individuals who I knew felt comfortable enough sharing personal information and in addition, were going to be completely honest in the interviewing process. I also wanted a source who had some credibility to give the readers a different perspective on the effects of COVID-19, which is why I chose a therapist in addition to a student in her 20s and a business owner in his 50s. I wanted to make this article relatable to better allow the reader to absorb and engage with the information. I figured that two ages and two different types of genders would allow for more people to relate as well as be provided the best outcome a source could give for this story. 

There were a couple of interesting obstacles in the process of making this story. I found it difficult to keep the topic in focus. There was so much information that was valuable and I would have loved to include, but it, unfortunately, steered too far away from the topic at hand. I also found it difficult to be fully engaged and remember what I wanted to ask next; perhaps a better memory could improve that obstacle. As far as currently being in a pandemic, I didn’t have an issue talking and reaching out to my sources. 

As I had mentioned previously, one of the things I struggled most with was handling the information that I had received. The best way I was able to choose what to put into the story was keeping what I wanted the audience to take out of it in mind. If the information gave a different lesson or perspective than what the nut graph described then I refrained from including it. As for what the nut graph consisted of, I asked myself what I would want to gain out of this article and what would benefit me; from there I was able to decide what the nut graph consisted of and what the focus of the story would be. 

After gathering all the information, I quickly found that I needed a more organized format to be able to write about what I had learned. I also discovered that if I could make a whole story out of quotes I would and that I needed to find a way to insert my creativity into the story to prevent myself from using too many quotes. Most importantly, however, I learned that I have a love for creative leads and that I want to work on those skills more. 

If I had more time, and endless words to write this story with, I would have included Gideon Harris’ information about COVID-19 in the future and personal development. I would have also included Mark Raleigh’s more vulnerable words of his life growing up with depression. Despite the desire to to include more information, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable my sources were at opening up. I knew they would be reliable but I was extremely impressed with the vulnerability and openness they presented while sharing. I am shocked every day by the amazing people that I am surrounded by and all that they are capable of, and this story validates the strength individuals have when times are less than ideal.  


Makayla Harris is a University of Utah student who is studying to be a broadcast journalist. Previously Makayla has worked as a teacher assistant for business classes and has also partaken in helping develop start-up companies. She has skills working with Excel, Adobe Premier, and WordPress but considers her best skills to be time management, organization, and getting personal stories from individuals. 

Some of Makayla’s favorite things to do is talk with new people, hike, and read. Before Makayla knew she wanted to be a writer and broadcast journalist she once submitted a piece of creative writing into a contest for extra credit and was later announced the winner in an assembly. She says it was “an embarrassing but pleasant surprise.”

Makayla’s dream is to host her own show that consists of conversations with individuals who shed light on particular areas in their life that they believe will benefit others going through a similar situation. She hopes to accomplish this by allowing the guest to share experiences and tools learned in their most natural, authentic state of being.