Day 2

We started off the day with breakfast in the Southside Dining Hall at George Mason University. After breakfast, I had a little bit of down time since I’d gotten up a little earlier. I took a mini walk around campus with a buddy and then we went back to the dorms to relax a little before the day.

Listening to Hoda Kotb speak was beyond inspiring. She took us through her entire journey from the end of her college years to where she is now anchoring for the Today Show. I never  would have thought that she faced the challenges that she did. If I had gotten rejected for job after job after job I don’t know if I would’ve been able to push through it like she did. I couldn’t even imagine how she must’ve felt after getting so many rejections one after the other. I admire her so much for pushing past all of the rejections to become who she is today. She mentioned that, when she got her first job, she realized that you only need one person to believe in you to be successful. Hoda also stressed the importance of learning from your mistakes because mistakes are going to happen, it’s unavoidable.

One of the things that she mentioned was to not be worried about the odds of becoming a journalist. I’ve known for about a year now that I want to go into a career into journalism and I’ve done all I can to pursue it at my school. However, so many people have told me that it’s not feasible that it’s not the best career path to take. I was at a family gathering and talking to my aunt and, when I told her what I wanted to do, she gave me an incredulous look and said, “Sweetie, do you want to make money?”

I know that the road I want to take isn’t going to be easy. But, journalism is something that I want to pursue. There’s no other career that I’ve looked into that I’m as passionate about as I am for journalism. I loved that Hoda talked about her journey and it made me feel so much better about what I want to do in the future. Her words allowed me to breathe for a second and think, I can do this. It’s possible. To know that she faced her own hardships and only grew as a person and a journalist makes me extremely hopeful for my own future.

Afterwards, we visited the Newseum. It wasn’t until I was through two floors did I realize why there was a special deal for two day passes to the museum. There was so much to see, I could’ve spent the entire time on one floor alone! I really hope I get the chance to visit again. It really opened my eyes to the world of journalism. I never realized that there was so much history behind this profession.

We had an opportunity to take photos in front of the White House and then we went on a Twilight Monument tour. The monuments were all beautiful in their own different way. It was amazing to see how each monument was designed to remember World War II, the Vietnam War, Abraham Lincoln, and the Korean War. There was so much thought put into each of the monuments and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor those before us.

It was definitely a long day and I didn’t even realize my feet were hurting until I finally sat down on the charter bus. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Day 1

The trip to get here was definitely tiring. Who would’ve thought that sitting in a car all day would be so exhausting? But, when I heard about all of the stories that people had about flying, taking trains, one girl even had to take a ferry to get off of her island it made my eight-hour car ride sound pretty mundane.

Checking in to the conference was so much easier than I had thought it was going to be. Everyone that I met was so kind and helpful. My little brother and my dad both gave me big hugs before they left and told me to take lots of pictures.

I can’t lie, one of the biggest things that I was really nervous about was meeting my roommate. It turns out I really had nothing to worry about. My roommate and I get along really well and I’m so excited to be spending more time with her throughout the week.

One of the options that was given to us while we waited for everyone to arrive was to take a campus tour. I never thought about applying to George Mason University but the tour swayed me a little. The campus was very pretty and I loved how even though it was a big campus it still had a community-like feel to it. I’m not sure if I’m going to apply but I’m definitely going to take George Mason into consideration when I’m filling out my applications.

Dinner was definitely not what I expected. I thought it was just going to be a typical college run through the cafeteria line type of dinner. I didn’t expect to be sitting in a nice ballroom with waiters and a buffet style dinner. It was a pleasant surprise to say the least.

Our speaker tonight was Tina Rosenberg. I loved hearing about what she had to say in terms of journalism. I also really liked how, through her freelance career, she found a style of journalism that she was passionate about. It was really nice to hear about the different perspective that Solutions Journalism brings to the table. I agreed with Tina Rosenberg that there is a lot of negative news in journalism today. I think that Solutions Journalism is a great way to combat this and shine a more positive light in the journalism world.

After listening to our speaker we received an official welcome from Elena Johnson, the program director of WJMC.

Later, we went into a room with our color group, mine is the orange group. We did fun activities to learn everyone’s names and get to know more about everyone in our group. One of the games we played was similar to musical chairs and I learned some fun facts about the different people in my group.

After the activities our Faculty Advisor and Junior Faculty Advisor went over the rules for the conference as well as other things we needed to know. Then, we talked about personal brands and professional networking. We did two exercises. One to describe our personal brand and how we would able to create this brand with the conference. In the second activity, we created an elevator pitch and shared it with the people in our group. We ended the meeting with talking about what we would do tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we’re supposed to hear from a speaker, Hoda Kotb. I’m very excited to hear her speak since I’ve heard so many great things about her. It was really cool that she gave us free copies of her book! We’re also supposed to visit the Newseum and go on a tour of the monuments in D.C. later at night.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first day here at WJMC and, even though I’m ready to catch some sleep, I can’t wait for my second day here!

Anticipation

This coming Sunday, tomorrow, I will be walking onto George Mason University’s campus to participate in the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.

This is one of the biggest events I’ve ever attended. I’m so honored and beyond excited to be a part of this conference with so many professionals and successful journalists and people like me who want to learn more about the world of journalism.

There’s no denying it, I’m definitely nervous. But it’s an excited nervous. It’s an ‘I’m ready to do this’ kind of nervous. But it is nerve-racking nonetheless.

I can’t wait to meet everyone who is attending the conference.It’s crazy to think that I’m soon going to have the chance to meet people from across the nation and even from outside of the U.S!

I’m so ready to take on this coming week. WJMC, here I come!