Indiana University expands senior's journalism skills
Senior Stephan Melendez travels to Indiana University (IU) to attend a summer journalism class. The experience tests his ability, but leaves him with new skills and knowledge.
After months of deciding whether I wanted to attend a journalism camp during summer, I chose the inevitable and considered going whole heartedly to my journalism adviser, Greg Stobbe's advice. I flew 2,100 miles across the US to attend one of the most prestigious journalism camps offered to high school students: Indiana University (IU).
Upon arriving at the university, I was filled with butterflies; the biggest fear in the back of my mind was not being able to compete with the others. Stobbe kept reassuring me through short texts reminding me, "You can do it," and, "Show them what you got."
But that wasn't enough to calm my overwhelming stress. On the charter bus from Indianapolis to Bloomington, IN (where the campus is located), I met other peers just like me who shared many other common anxieties.
Entering the town of Bloomington, IN, I was amazed at just how closely knit the town was with university life. The talk of the town was consumed by next year's football and basketball teams and their rivals. Through the bus window, I saw the monstrous football stadium that held close to 42,000 people. As we passed the old Teter dorm buildings, people gawked at the humungous five and six story dorms residences.
Waiting for me at the dorms was a long line that curved around the corner, just to check in. I was devastated and annoyed, waiting in a two-hour line with the sun beating on my neck and the humidity sticky like gum. I for sure resented my decision but there was no turning back now.
Checking in was a hassle, but I survived it. The first day of camp was filled with orientation and a bunch of rules that never apply to me. For instance: underage drinking, smoking, drugs and sex are not apart of my daily life, therefore they are petty rules to me. But one rule I hated was lights out at 11 p.m. There was, however, a reward if the boys dorm could go all week without any hassle with this rule: a pizza party, filled with access to soda, snacks, games and much more.
Everyday consisted of work. My schedule was waking up at 7 a.m., followed by my first class at 8 a.m., and then attending my second class at 10 a.m. Within those two classes, I was given homework that required to be finished by the the third and fourth class after lunch. Since lunch was only one hour, I busted my butt trying to fulfill all my teachers' assignments.
"I made so many friends and I wasn't ready to leave. Everyone gathered at the Wilkie auditorium for the award ceremony, and I watched only 20 students out of hundreds receive a scholarship for IU. Shockingly, I was not heartbroken when my name was not called because I knew I worked hard and improved even more in my writing." --Stephan Melendez, Writer
This was my life for four straight days: I ate, slept and thought about journalism consistently. The following day was filled with even more work. I ran back and forth between my dorm and Ernie Pyle Hall where most of my lectures took place; which by the way, were a mile apart from each other.
Although I had about two hours in the evening each day for recreational time, I was always swamped with homework.
Finally, movie review day arrived; all my peers kept talking about how excited they were to see a movie. My teacher scheduled my class, which contained only 13 students, to take a trip to the movie theater to watch The Amazing Spiderman. But there was a catch. We had to write a review within 24 hours and email the finished product to her.
Thankfully, I completed my review in under four hours. The same night the newly elected Chief Justice Brent Dickson of the Indiana Supreme Court came to give a press conference and speak to the students attending the camp in Ernie Pyle Hall.
While attending Indiana University (IU) for a summer journalism camp, senior Stephan Melendez works hard to complete his assignments. Though the classes were tough, Melendez suggests similar experiences for each of his fellow staffers.
The press conference lasted for an hour and it was enlightening. Dickson spoke about impartiality in journalism. He was funny but at the same time he was very stalwart on his ideology of fair reporting in journalism. He spoke about some valid points, one issue that arose was the ethics of journalism.
The last night was chaotic even though there was no homework. I bonded with my friends and my crazy counselors. One of the activities planned was karaoke night, so five of my friends and I all dressed up and styled our hair like the back street boys and sang "As long as you love me." I will never forget that night, especially playing tag in the dark at 1 a.m..
As Friday approached, the end of camp, I was actually sad. I made so many friends and I wasn't ready to leave. Everyone gathered at the Wilkie Auditorium for the award ceremony, and I watched only 20 students out of hundreds receive a scholarship for IU. Shockingly, I was not heartbroken when my name was not called because I knew I worked hard and improved even more in my writing.
A couple hours after I left IU and boarded my plane, I gathered my thoughts and wished I would have known about this camp earlier in my journalism career. I learned important lessons, and I would suggest for my fellow staffers to attend a journalism camp as well.
For more columns, read the Aug. 14 article, Senior utilizes language, shares Gospel in Colombia.