Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Experience as an ISJW Student

Newspapers, Scavenger hunts, and blogs! Oh MY!

  My Experience as an Iowa Summer Journalism Student
The Personal Writing group during the scavenger hunt
  Imagine walking onto the campus of your dream school for the first time. I no longer have to imagine but rather remember. The first time I stepped foot on the campus of my dream school was last Sunday when I checked into the Iowa Summer Journalism Camp. I was so filled with anticipation for the camp that as soon as I got up to my dorm room at Burge Hall, I pushed my parents out and urged them to leave. I found myself in a place I had never been to with people I had never met and it was exciting. Above all, I wanted desperately to get into class and start showing everyone what I am capable of. 
  I met with my instructor, Jarrin Williams, an enthusiastic and peppy man, on the first night. Mr. Williams went through a very helpful informational presentation about what a blog post should accomplish and how to write reviews. That night we also received our first assignment. During our work time, I asked Mr. Williams to look at my personal blog. He agreed and started to scroll through months of my hard work. He was very pleased with my blog and told me that it was internship worthy and very professional. His praise gave me the affirmation that I had been looking for since I started my personal blog last November. 
  I went back to my dorm and felt like I was walking on clouds. All I could think was, Yeah! I guess I am good at this! When I reached my dorm I found out a peculiar fact about life in Burge Hall: to go to the bathroom, you need a key. I had never experienced living in a dorm that locked their bathrooms. Other than that, dorm life was easy living although I was always out and about!
 Every day in class we were given two assignments that would need to be posted by that night. Some of these assignments required us to go into Iowa City and review a coffee shop or to interview campers. I really enjoyed the interviews and I wish that we had a chance to do more!
Walking to class on a sunny day
  In our class time, we were granted a lot of freedom in terms of writing. We could write as many posts as we wanted to and we weren't limited to certain topics. Mr. Williams left us to our devices while always giving us the option to eat some starbursts. Mr. Williams challenged me to write about things that were happening in the news. I struggled with the idea at first, I didn't keep up with the election and didn't think of myself to blog about hurricanes or robberies. I realized that I could talk about my one true love: fashion news. I didn't struggle after that. 

A candid shot of me taking photos of butterflies PC: Jarrin Williams
  One of my favorite memories from the camp was when we traveled to the Johnson County Fair. On a whim, Mr. Williams asked the photojournalism instructor if we could join them when they went to the fair to take photos. That night, after dinner, the personal writing group piled into a University of Iowa van and drove to the fair. We only spent about an hour on the fairgrounds, but it was really invigorating to get out and experience what the community had to offer. My camp friend Bella and I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the butterflies at the butterfly garden and going on a ride together. Below is a photo she took of me while we were spinning around in the air!
Flying around the fairgrounds  
  Later in the week, one of the counselors took the time to walk the campers through how to apply to the University of Iowa. I found this informational lecture very helpful because I will be a junior this upcoming school year and Iowa is my top choice for colleges. Eric, the counselor, answered all of our questions about the school. He also told us an anecdote to urge us to get out to the job fair our freshman year so that the representatives can see how you grow year by year.  

The Personal Writing students on the set of the campus news!

  I also really enjoyed getting to talk to the editor of The Daily Iowan and a couple members of the summer staff. Surprisingly, I hadn't heard of The Daily Iowan, a student run newspaper on campus, until I visited the University of Iowa. I knew that Iowa State had three student run magazines on campus but I didn't know that the University of Iowa had a newspaper! We got to see where the campus news station recorded as well. Mr. Williams took advantage of the Kodak moment and asked Lily Abromeit, the editor & chief of The Daily Iowan to snap a photo of us on the set. (Seen above) 

"We Are All Scientists"

  Lastly, I had a lot of fun running around Iowa City for the scavenger hunt. We were given a list of clues that described different things we could find/see in Iowa City. The scavenger hunt was a huge competition between all of the different workshops and we took a lot of adorable photos! The Personal Writing group didn't end up winning the competition but it still was  entertaining (and really good exercise). 
Outdoor pianos line the streets at the Pedestrian Mall
  Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the USJW! I loved trekking around to all of the different places we visited for class. I feel like I truly got my first taste of Iowa City...and I want more! Iowa City is the perfect college town. You can walk everywhere and people genuinely prefer small town sandwich shops to Subway. I can't wait to return next summer to experience another Iowa summer journalism workshop and some more Iowa City culture. 
We love the Ped Mall! (& Free Wifi!)

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