These first couple of days in Orlando were full of personal and journalistic firsts for me. I went to Disney World for the first time, I rode my first roller coaster, this is my first journalism convention as an editor, I took my first Photoshop class, I entered my first design contest and I went to my first college trade show with schools that specifically specialize in journalism and communication.
I also participated in activities that, no matter how many times I do them, are still thrilling for me. I learned about InDesign, I listened to two fantastic keynote speakers, I met other journalists and I laughed with a group of students who are dedicated to creating fantastic content.
Some people scoffed at me when I told them I was missing three days of school to go to Orlando. It is true that I am missing class and I will have a lot of classwork and homework to make up when I get back, but I’m not here on vacation. Yes, I went to Disney World on Wednesday. But my schedule from Thursday to Sunday is more busy than at school. I start my day anywhere between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. every day and participate in learning sessions or listen to keynote speakers until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. I am learning. I am learning a lot. I am learning stuff that I would never learn in school. I am learning things that will not only help me in the journalism room but also in real life. I am learning how to use Photoshop and InDesign, how to engage teenage audiences, how to use social media as journalists, how to be a leader, how to do investigative reporting, how to be sensitive to prejudices, how to diversify and how to create stunning designs.
Staying somewhere as beautiful as Orlando is a plus, but it’s not the reason I came. The lessons I’m learning/will learn will be skills I carry with me for years and if I have to sacrifice a few days of class for that then that’s fine by me.