Growing up as the youngest in a very close-knit family, I always appreciate any opportunity to escape my extremely Portuguese culture and home in Hartford, Connecticut. Although I find comfort in arriving home to a family that will never eat dinner without me, I use my days as a Loomis Chaffee student to broaden my independence and past experiences. Boarders make up a majority of my school’s population, but I stand as one of the pariahs- a day student. I would like to think that I have overcome the barrier between the two populations, but a “DSG” (day student girl) can never know. While many of the tri-varsity students at Loomis relish their athleticism, I cannot say the same. My athletic abilities have dwindled throughout my three years at Loomis and now I play two club sports and I have barely made it to Varsity Squash in the winter. Socially, we have all regressed at Loomis because we are rarely given the opportunity to have fun. For this reason, I thank my parents for refusing to let me independently experience high school in a dorm room. Loomis proves important only because much of my world seems defined by the nine months that I have no fun, and I thoroughly appreciate that escape. Although I rarely allow individual things to consume me, it seems that for the next year- my senior year- I will enjoy the last months I have left in my small Loomis world, but prepare myself to move on to wherever I may go.
When we visited The Capitol on Friday, I found that the trip was quite different than I had imagined. I never really thought about what the inside of the building might look like, and as I traveled through the building, the decor took me by surprise. The artwork inside of the building was beautiful and extremely intricate- almost like a museum. This setting within the building seemed interesting because, visually, it did not seem very much like a work place. Despite my feelings, as soon as I entered the Press GalleryI witnessed the seriousness of business handled at the Capitol. The room itself had beautiful, old-world decor and appeared very traditional. I loved the dark wood desks, but especially, the brass spittoons that, thankfully, Professor Perri said the senators do not use. This traditional feel of the Press Gallery and the building as a whole really conveyed and illustrated the nation’s history and the importance that the American political system has.
Throughout the visit, I had the opportunity to use a professional digital audio recorder. As I walked around with our group, I recorded the background conversations taking place both in and outside of our group, and I also recorded the explanations and conversations that our group held with our guides. Katharine Jarmal, our guide who taught me the use of the audio recorder, now interns at Free Speech Radio and has worked at both USA Today and The Washington Post. Learning from Jarmal was a really great opportunity for me because, as I recorded, she walked with me and explained her work as a reporter and the ways in which she did her job at the Capitol. For example, when we walked through some of the halls of the building, Jarmal explained the areas where she would wait to speak to senators after big meetings, and the fearless ways in which she would ask questions to get a story. Although principally I was unsure about what I should record, I’m glad I had the experience because I did learn very much about the importance of the kind of information that I choose and the importance of a relentless pursuit of my information.
Overall, I enjoyed the visit very much and learned a great deal about the Capitol itself and the importance of the different work done there.
Yesterday, we had Adam Yalowitz come to our morning classes and speak to us about his work on the Barack Obama campaign. I thought Adam’s presentation was casual and unintimidating. He really spoke to us as a group and interested us by using language and examples that we could understand, while simultaneously inspiring and challenging us to create opportunities for our own political influence. Although I really enjoyed having Mr. Yalowitz speak to us, at times it was difficult because he was speaking quickly and it seemed hard to keep up. After Adam came in, I realized that he presented us with a lot of ways to become involved and to influence even our small communities, and with real examples of the impact that young people can have in today’s world.
Today we had another guest speaker. Julie Rasicot, a writer for the Washington Post and Bethesda magazine, came to our morning classes at around 9:15 and spent nearly an hour engaging our classes in not only her work as a journalist, but also in her life at home and how both worlds must unite successfully. I loved how Mrs. Rasicot interacted with our class and allowed us to ask questions that helped us to understand the ways in which her career effects her life. By giving us multiple ideas and definitions of “feature style” writing, Rasicot not only spoke to us about herself, but she taught us valuable information that we will most likely utilize in classes today, and in classes in the near future. I enjoyed both speakers very much.
Approaching the Newseum of Washington, D.C, one might see the gray building blending with its neighboring structures. But upon entering, the newly relocated and renovated Newseum’s modern and interactive appearance astonishes its visitors with hydraulic glass elevators and endless staircases climbing to the top’s phenomenal view of the Capitol.
On Tuesday, the A.M group of the Journalism and Mass Communications program went to the Newseum in Washington, D.C. I found the trip really interesting and helpful because it allowed me to see how news is covered and created. It was really cool how, each day, they had front page articles from a variety of national newspapers. For me, the part of the Newseum that was most astonishing was the exhibit on 9/11. Not only did the timeline and real piece of the building bring to light the reality and destruction of the events, but the movie also allowed its viewers to see and feel just a small part of what the people intimately involved felt.
At first, the 4D movie seemed like it might be a bit uninteresting, but after I saw the movie, it proved helpful. I loved seeing how the news impacted the lives and lifestyles of Americans throughout the years, and also how it developed over time. I thought that the ways that the movie interacted with its audience kept me focused and tried to reveal the true effect that news can have on the people entertained by it. Much like the 4D movie, many other parts of the Newseum proved very interactive. Another one of my favorite exhibits in the Newseum was the Ethics exhibit. Although I did not have time to watch the T.V monitors in the exhibit, I really enjoyed taking the ethics quiz. I realized that I knew many of the answers to the questions, but, if I did have a wrong answer, I made sure to not make that mistake again. It was easy to assume that the questions seemed logical, but at times I was surprised by the answers. All in all, I had a wonderful experience at the Newseum and I would definitely return the next time I am in Washington, D.C and have the time to fully explore the exhibits.
I’m here at AU for 13 days and I’m taking classes for Professional Newswriting.