The conference has come and gone in a blink of an eye. It’s funny how people always seem to say that about new and exciting things, but when it happens to you, it makes all the sense in the world. And BOY am I exhausted. Back at home I’ve been working on getting more sleep, so I slid behind on that quite a bit this week, but it is definitely worth it. I know the career of journalism well entail these long hours with little sleep, but that’s what I love. You don’t sacrifice your life and tranquility for something you are not passionate about, and this conference has helped me to realize that I truly am passionate about being a journalist, and I will do what it takes to get there.
Upon receiving my certificates for completion of the program, my evaluations, and hearing the closing remarks, I am now sitting alone in my dorm room, quite quietly and peacefully- the opposite of how it has typically been lately. There is much I could do: write, read, blog, research, but I feel the urge to go out and DO. Explore, adventure, travel. Either that or sleep. But the downtime of writing and reading, researching, and relaxing is all part of the field, being at peace with yourself at all times.
Wednesday was a day packed full of speakers from all realms of journalism.
Carol Guzy, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist was the first to speak to us and undoubtedly did a tremendous job at captivating the audience. Her images and words reflected all aspects of life, the joys, the sorrows, and instilled a strong emotion in the eyes and heart of what we beheld.
After hearing advice form an admissions director here at George Mason University, Matthew Schott, one of our advisors at the conference, presented on the topic of Social Media, Responsibility, and Ethics. Another panel spoke to our group, made up of sports reporters, writers, and bloggers. Despite not having sports at the top of my areas of interest, the presentation was quite eye-opening as I realized that regardless of what area of journalism the speakers were from, they all had such passion. Later, we split into breakout sessions, where I listened to Hillary Burke, line producer for National Geographic Television, which I was SO excited for since working for the company has always been a dream of mine. Although she is a line producer and does not do the writing, travelling, and creative pieces that I want to do, it was still intriguing to hear the passion, especially because of the area of focus her work has. The last to step on stage was Kevin McCarthy, a young movie reviewer. He surely motivated through his funny and energetic personality, and with me coming across sometimes as quiet, helped me to understand that it’s okay to ASK, ask again, and ask a few more times, because that is how dreams become opportunities, which can then become realities.
Thursday was our Capitol Hill day, where we could break off and meet with our congressional representatives, tour museums, and just explore the area of the National Mall. I attended the tour of the National Holocaust Museum, which was beautiful. Beautiful in the sense of life, family, stories of hope, and human strength. If only we didn’t have a time contraint of 90 minutes!! I made a dash for the Smithsonian American Indian museum to grab a quick bite to eat, since I couldn’t find a Starbucks to quench my thirst for cold energy. Upon boarding the bus, my sleep deprivation grabbed a hold of me and I passed out in a matter of seconds, just waking up when we arrived back at George Mason. It was time to get ready for our big Gala event that evening.
The Gala was very well put together, complete with a sit-down meal, acknowledgement of all of the faculty and contributors to the conference, photos and videos of our explorations, and, of course, a dance that followed- a TWO-HOUR dance. Now, I am a social person and I like to dance, in fact I used to take lessons. This past year I took hip-hop for the first time. Well, I didn’t actually take part int he recital because I wanted to spend as much time as I could in New York, BUT I still dance, put myself out there, and am not afraid. HOWEVER, I’m not a huge fan of teenage dances with pop/slightly inappropriate music and body movements, so I just chilled in the game room with some friends, playing cards, talking, and listening to some “good” music from our iPods.
Despite wanting to go back to the room after dinner, the night of the big Gala turned out great and was a good end to all of our hard work throughout the week, both for the staff and students. It truly was a success and I am looking forward to working with the conference as part of the alumni group and hopefully being an intern at next year’s conference (if I’m selected out of the 275 students).
Soon, my cousin will be arriving to rescue me from my lonesome dorm room so I can continue my stay in Virginia. Okay, that sounds rather harsh. It’s not that I’m looking forward to leaving, but rather that I’m ready to move forward, continue my journey to success, my path of exploration and adventure, my search toward expressing the millions of untold stories that are hidden within every crevice of the world. I’m ready. I’m prepared. Thanks Washington Journalism and Media Conference!
(Note: I was hoping to add photos, but I’m using a different computer that is not uploading my files. Stay tuned!)