I keep forgetting that I’m receiving class credit for my work with BSU at the Games. In the spring, the other students and I spent our class time preparing for London and building content. But since the start of summer, this experience has felt more like a dream job than a class.
In May, two professors, four other students and I traveled to Dallas for the 2012 Team USA Media Summit. Media professionals from all over the country gathered at the Hilton Anatole downtown to interview Olympic hopefuls. Not only was I able to interview dozens of athletes, but I also had the opportunity to network with professionals from The New York Times, Twitter, WTHR-TV (Indianapolis) and more. And that’s not to mention the fact that I attended press conferences for Michelle Obama and Michael Phelps.
When we first arrived, I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull this off. Working next to media professionals who have “been in the biz” for years is incredibly intimidating. But I caught on quickly, and I was able to pull from my knowledge and practice from these last three years at Ball State. My time in Dallas felt like an entire internship’s worth of experience crammed into three days. And I loved every second of it.
I also learned quite a bit about myself at the Media Summit. Generally speaking, I work well under pressure. (I guess procrastination isn’t always a bad thing.) It turns out that I’m also very capable of stepping outside of my comfort zone, which proved to be essential in such a competitive environment.
Finally, my experience in Dallas reinforced my dreams and ambitions. As a soon-to-be graduate, it’s hard not to get bogged down by all the negative realities of the job market. But this trip was a reminder that I’m doing what I love and that it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears. I can only imagine what my adventures in London will bring.
A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be spending this summer reporting on everything to do with the London 2012 Olympic Games, I would’ve been skeptical, to say the least.
It’s funny how things really do work themselves out. Last fall, I was planning to study abroad in London during the spring semester. Then the night before Halloween, I took a nasty fall and broke my right wrist. Oh, and I’m right-handed, of course. It became nearly impossible to keep up with my class work, much less anything else. Once I realized that my wrist likely wouldn’t heal in time to leave for London like I had planned, I was crushed.
Right around the same time, instructor Ryan Sparrow’s brainchild, BSU at the Games, started coming together. I had heard about the learning project before but was under the impression that it was intended for sports reporters and graphic journalists. It turned out that he was recruiting feature reporters like me and that Sparrow is also the program director for the study-abroad program in Worcester, England, that takes place prior to the London Games. It didn’t take long for me to commit to this extraordinary opportunity. Combined, these two programs that pertain to my field of study cost less than the spring London study-abroad program. And because I’m also taking classes during the summer, this experience allows me to graduate a semester early.
So needless to say, it all worked out. I’m so thankful that Ball State supports programs like this, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my last summer break. Although I didn’t foresee any of this, I couldn’t be more excited about the adventures that lie ahead.