When I first came to Mexico City, I was just returning from an amazing adventure, and institute called the ASNE Reynolds Institute, thanks to the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. It changed my life forever. Literally. I always knew as I clamored my way major after major in college, I lived for new experiences, a chance to dip into education, social media, loved the outdoors, but wanted new challenges each day. I get bored easily with the same pattern day in and day out, and didn’t have the patience to not experience peoples’ stories and I wanted to be involved with them on a daily basis. I found my home at Kent State that summer.
Thanks to being accepted to this Institute, I was whisked away on a flight to Kent State, picked up in a limo, and housed in the dorm at Kent State University, surrounded by technological and journalism experts, and educators from Hawaii to New York. It was a utopia of learning how to go out and find a story, report, it, and dig into people’s lives and find out THEIR story, and report it to the interest of those around you. It was about ethics, decisions on making journalism work in the 21st Century, using professional and personal skills alongside each other, taking what has been deemed a nowhere major such as Communication and making it something outstanding in Journalism.
Up to this point I had been baptized in advising the amazing Aloha yearbook at Seaford High, and looking back now as the advisor or the Repentino. magazine, a brilliant continuation of talented individuals that are challenged alongside me daily, I never could have been part of a more crucial Institute than this that changed the direction of how I wanted to be involved with publications and the immediate community. This blog has slowly evolved to meet the diverse needs of people around the world, and still is evolving, just as I am int he field of journalism I learned at the ASNE Institute.
It makes sense, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea that connects to something I researched or published before and realize, there is no set schedule for discovery, creativity, and implementation in journalism, it flows and ebbs in nocturnal, and odd hours , all hours of the day (and night). What better field to be such a diverse person in than in journalism and journalism that doesn’t fit into the stereotype of the reporter in an office, on the street, and back to the office, but evoking to the 21st Century…evolving to the blog, the iPhone, the iPad, the QR code, the coffee shop, the theatre, and so much more.
I look back at the Institutes I have been lucky to be a part of, the Holocaust Educator’s Workshop in the Kristol Center at the University of Delaware (age 23 of the pamphlet), the Delaware Naturalist Certification Program, the Clarice Smith Art Education Institute in D.C, The first National Writing Project in Mansfield, PA,The National Youth Leadership Conference in Philadelphia, the numerous Jostens’ yearbook camps I attended at Gettysburg College, the AP Institutes in Lewes, Delaware, and of course ASNE in Kent State, they all jelled together with this basic ultimatum – Use this experience to reach others otherwise it is just a list of “things” you went to on your professional record and nothing else. I had enough “things” and wanted to jumpstart what I did with all my experiences in my life, and ASNE put those together and ignited a passion for finding unique ways to reach people, to constantly create methods to reach people and bring them together, and to inform.
I am finding that I am growing more creative as I get older as one as I utilize my experiences and not just them soak in, but then turn around and “wring out” those experiences and put them to use. I have learned so much since that ASNE experience, I feel it was a central stopping station to take all the experiences I had worked through and refining them to be used in the most optimal way possible. Yes, looking back on those mornings walks I took with H.L. taught me an important lesson, making time for yourself to grow in areas you are strong in is vital, reflection is necessary. During that process you will create a position that you best fit into, that utilizes your talents to the optimum, and necessarily doesn’t fit into an current neat, existing job description, often it becomes created on your own – if you allow opportunities to grow and morph into something else. I found being a Media Specialist Librarian and an advocate for journalism allowed this to happen. I have never been the same ever since.