After living in Baltimore my entire life, I moved to Boston last March with two goals: to work for the Red Sox and to go to graduate school. Today, I graduated from Boston University with a Master of Science in Journalism, and it feels pretty darn good. I think I’m done with school for a long, long time.
What a year to be a photojournalist in Boston. It’s been a crazy, roller coaster ten month ride, and from what I gather in conversations with professors within the College of Communication, one unlike any other.
Just thinking about the stories we covered makes my head spin. In the Fall, we were thrown right into the middle of a presidential election, and within days of our first class we’re shooting Obama campaign events, documenting rallies, and covering election night from inside the Mitt Romney headquarters. In the Winter, we’re knee deep in snow, out covering winter storm Nemo. In the Spring, we’re shooting and reporting in the middle of an attack on the Boston Marathon. Between it all, we’re telling the smaller stories: The kite flying fisherman, the one man band, the piano maker, the early morning runners in Boston Common, and the Head of the Charles race to name a few.
In November, our graduate photojournalism class of five students became a class of four, as we lost one of our peers and friends, Chris Weigl. I wish he were here for this day.
It’s hard to make sense of all of that, and I still don’t know if it’s all sunk in yet. What I do know, though, is that given all that’s happened, we’re more prepared to do journalism the right way than anyone else out there. We can cover any kind of story under any circumstances. I’m optimistic about where journalism is now and where it’s going.
Personally, I had a great year, although it was ridiculously busy and, at times, stressful. Trying to balance the work of a full-time student with a job that requires long, odd hours was tough, and I found it difficult to devote equal energy and effort to both school and work. I won’t miss running back and forth between Fenway Park and the COM building through that disgusting Beacon Street parking lot two or three times a day.
What will last, though, are the friends made and the connections solidified. I come out of this program with a new set of skills related to multimedia journalism, but more importantly, with a new network of friends and colleagues. In our world, nothing is more important.
As for my plans from here on, I’m going to continue shooting for the Sox, and continue freelancing on the pro tennis tour and around Boston. We’ll see what life brings.
A huge thank you to the family, friends, professors, and mentors who helped me through this year! I’m a lucky guy. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.
This will be my final “Reflections on Four Years at Goucher College” post. I’ll stop boring you.
This photograph represents the countless hours and, particularly throughout my Junior and Senior year, regular all-nighters spent working in the library. It started with the Julia Rogers library and the infamous “Walk of Shame” – the long walk across campus at 3:30 in the morning in the cold winter rain after finalizing a twenty-page paper.
Halfway through the four years, the library moved to the Athenaeum, a much more convenient location. The workload increased however, and surviving on Snickers bars and Fritos from the vending machines in Julia Rogers changed to surviving on Caprese baguettes and Iced Athenaeum’s from Alice’s Restaraunt.
Those nights, and the lack of sleep in general, are elements of College that I won’t miss, but hard work pays off. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors in my Communications and Media Studies major and a minor in Spanish Language. I’m also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Sigma academic and athletic honor societies. And, this year, I wrote a 76-page Senior honors thesis titled, “Sex, Censorship, and Student Journalism: What Two Newspaper Columns Reveal About the Student Press.”
What I will miss are the conversations and discussions that took place in classes, and I’m thankful to the professors who sparked my interest in so many different areas of study. It was always a joy listening to lectures about the changing landscape of journalism or the role of robots in science fiction films.
Finally, Goucher is unique in that professors become mentors and then subsequently become friends. I doubt there’s many other places where your Research Methods professor beats you 7-0 in basketball or your Spanish professor asks you to play tennis or your Communications professor buys you Chinese food. In my opinion, the prospect of forming these types of relationships is among the finest that Goucher has to offer.
My reflections about my time at Goucher College are not complete without some closing thoughts on The Quindecim, the institution that gave me a sense of purpose on campus and defined me professionally and personally.
After being voted Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper, I led an extensive revitalization of all aspects of the publication. These efforts transformed The Quindecim from an inconsistent and unprofessional newspaper to a reliable, recognizable, and revered institution on campus. You can read about what we set out to accomplish at the start of that process here.
We did a huge service to the Goucher community, one that unfortunately has been taken for granted and has gone largely unrewarded. You’ll get a sense of what I mean if you read here.
What I didn’t refer to much in those articles, though, is the impact The Q had on my life at Goucher, and subsequently, in the professional realm. I joined as a photographer at the start of my sophomore year, and despite quickly developed frustrations about the editorial leadership of the paper, I was shooting every day. I was now more than just a photography student in a class. I had deadlines to hit and events to cover. Knowing that my photographs would be seen by more than just one professor, I forced myself to do better work.
I was named Photography Editor soon after, and because Goucher is such a tight-knit community, I donned a “the kid with the camera at every event imaginable” type persona. It was this visibility that led to countless photo opportunities for the Office of Communications, The Quarterly, The Sports Information desk, the Dance and Music departments, Goucher Hillel, and other various student clubs. My newspaper portfolio was also good enough to land me my Photography internship with the Baltimore Orioles.
As I started reporting and writing more as well, my involvement grew and grew. Serving as Editor-In-Chief was the most grueling task of my college years, but was without a doubt also the most gratifying. I learned about ethics, tough decision making, working alongside others, organization, time management, attention to details, the risks of making mistakes, and recognition and lack of recognition for good work. These are lessons that reach far beyond a newsroom.
I view joining The Q as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. As silly as it seems, those first photography assignments about bed bugs and campus housing shortages remain just as important to me as any assignment for a more well-known publication. Without those assignments, I never would have gotten to The Baltimore Sun or The New York Times. Those first photographs ignited a passion that I hope will turn into a career, and for that, I love The Q.
Some of the best experiences Goucher College made possible for me were ones that happened thousands of miles away. Given Goucher’s international sensibility and study abroad requirement, I had many opportunities for travel, both nationally and internationally.
To fulfill my requirement, I studied in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2010 for a four-week intensive Spanish language program. What a trip. Living with a wonderful host family during my stay there, I was immersed in Argentine culture and learned the value of living without some of the luxuries that are easy to take for granted back home. I also left with a group of close friends from around the United States.
In retrospect, I wish I had been able to go abroad for an entire semester. It would have been impossible to do without missing a tennis season, but had I stayed there for three or four months, I’m confident that I would have achieved fluency in Spanish. That still remains a goal of mine.
I also visited a good friend of mine in Germany, traveled to Poland and the Czech Republic, and participated in a Taglit-Birthright trip to Israel this past January.
Finally, tennis team Spring break training trips took me to Virginia, North Carolina, and California, and I had many shorter visits to other parts of the country throughout the past four years.
There’s always lots of discussion about Goucher’s abroad requirements. There are certainly challenges to working around 1,400 plus students’ travel plans. In my view, though, this is one of the best things Goucher has going for it.
I’m currently halfway through my last week as a student at Goucher College, so naturally there’s been lots of time for reflection on my time spent here.
I’m overwhelmed when I think of all the different aspects of life that I and so many other students here juggled at once. So, while it’s impossible to comment on everything that I did over the past four years, I’m going to try and make some sense out of it all by posting about the most influential parts of my Goucher experience.
This is the first post in a series of several that will appear throughout this week. I usually don’t get too personal in my posts, but I won’t be able to help it for these. They’ll also likely be longer than usual, so don’t feel that you have to read all of my “thank you’s” and memories. They serve mostly as a permanent record for myself to look back on.
I came into Goucher a slick middle-infielder who had never played tennis as part of a team. I grew up on baseball and learned the many valuable lessons the game carries with it. Tennis was always an off-season activity I did to stay in shape, and up until several weeks prior to being accepted into Goucher, had no real intentions to continue playing at the college level.
I’m thankful that Goucher Athletics gave me the opportunity to do so. What started as a hobby quickly grew into a passion that brought me to tears as I walked off the court after my final match at Stevenson University several weeks ago.
I’m a competitive person by nature, so overall, I was disappointed with our play during my four years. As a team, we didn’t have one winning season, and as an individual, my record was far below .500.
It was incredibly frustrating at times, but in retrospect, wins and losses aren’t what I’ll take away from Goucher Tennis. What matters most is the irreplaceable leadership, friendship, and pride that builds within the program every year.
What leaves the strongest impression on me is the sheer number of hours participating at the NCAA level requires. It’s not just playing matches. It’s practicing, team meetings, fundraising, and traveling. It’s your afternoons, your sunrises, your late nights, your weekends, your Spring breaks, and your Summer vacations. Almost every day revolves around the hours alotted for tennis. It’s taught me about commitment, time management, and persistence, lessons that carry far beyond any tennis court.
Mentally, tennis is a tough game, and it just about always left me absolutely baffled. Baseball just seemed much simpler to me for reasons I can’t explain. But despite the losses, I had fun playing and I enjoyed the battle, and I’ll never lose sight of that. Goucher Tennis has given me irreplaceable memories and laughs. I’ll miss the shirtless practices on the first days of spring. I’ll miss the 6 a.m. team lifting, the 9 p.m. hit sessions, the pre-game speeches, the post-game speeches, the closet-sized locker room, the Goucher Football T-Shirt sales, the laser tag in Virginia Beach, the team dinners at the Steamy’s BBQ’s of the world, the bus rides home, and the sweet sound of the Victory Bell.
There are too many people to thank, but there are several that simply can’t go unrecognized.
Thank you to Geoff Miller, Director of Athletics at Goucher, for your dedication and enthusiasm in making athletics as vibrant a part of the Goucher community as it is, and for your personal guidance, particularly during my Senior year.
Thank you to Doug Mangi, Mike Simon, Chris Covey, Henning Jakob, and Michael Brooks, the Team Captains I played under, for being the guys I look up to. The impressions you’ve left on me are too big to put into words.
To Steve Baum and Dave Hemelt, my co-captains and “bros,” thank you for four years of friendship and many more to come. We’ll talk about it.
We Goucher Tennis people always refer to ourselves as “family,” so I posted this photograph that I took on self-timer two fall seasons ago rather than any action shot I have.
It’s full of family, mentors, leaders, and friends. That’s Goucher Tennis at its finest.
The forecast is calling for rain every day this week, so some friends and I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather yesterday and venture to Gunpowder Falls park about twenty minutes north of Goucher. It was a nice way to begin the Senior Week festivities leading up to graduation this coming Friday.
We didn’t find the exact spot that we were looking for, but we stopped here and had a picnic. Of course, I ate quickly and then spent far too much climbing slippery rocks and making long exposures of the water.
I was happy with this one. It’s a good one to add to my portfolio, which I published yesterday!
I’m a little over three weeks away from my last day of classes at Goucher College, and about five weeks from graduation. I’ve certainly reached the point where everything that’s happening here seems all too familiar. As for photography, at least, I’ve shot every angle on this campus that there is to shoot.
There’s still an undeniable feeling of nostalgia, though, as these final weeks rush by. I remind myself not to get caught up in those ‘I’m so over it’ thoughts, and to not lose sight of the things I’ve loved about this place.
One of those is the speakers that come to this campus. It’s particularly helpful as a journalist, given the frequent visits we have by professional reporters and editors from the world’s leading media outlets. It’s a nice compliment to what we’re taught in class and what we live through in our actual journalistic experiences.
His answer has stuck with me, particularly in these weeks which have seemed to revolve around nothing but internships, jobs, and careers.
“If you go into the industry with an understanding that you are not there as a newspaper reporter, but as a processor and interpreter of data – writing about it, explaining it in front of a camera, doing it on audio, talking about it on television – it’s all of these technologies converging. If you go into it like that, then it’s incredibly satisfying. And what’s the most satisfying part? You get up every morning and you don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s a pretty good thing. And the second thing is you get up every morning and you’re still excited about the work. I know more journalists who get up in the morning excited and thrilled to go into work than I do in almost any other field,” he said.
I’m glad to be back on the blog after a brief hiatus during an otherwise extremely productive Spring Break. I did get to spend a weekend relaxing and playing tennis in Florida. This photograph is obviously nothing special, but I decided to post it so that I have a record of the trip.
Besides those two lazy days, though, I took advantage of the time off to continue working on the various projects and commitments I’m involved in this semester.
Today marks the beginning of a final push towards graduation from Goucher College in approximately eight weeks. The Q, the courts, the classroom, the Senior Thesis, and the planning for life after Goucher are all in full swing (awful pun intended).
There’s no doubt it’s going to be a grind, but I’m focused and I’ll do my best to enjoy every second of it.
Here I sit a week later writing about a State of the Union speech that I can barely recall any details about. President Obama chose his words wisely, safely appealing to both Republicans and Democrats while largely avoiding clear and specific policy proposals.
I have to say, it was pretty boring.
But the young, soon-to-graduate-from-college-and-not-exactly-sure-what-he’s-going-to-do-next-yet-strangely-not-worried-at-all kid inside of me resonated with one talking point in an otherwise very long hour of watching.
“Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon,” said President Obama, calling for job-creation throughout various fields of science. “The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.”
“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” he added.
Hey people who are finishing up college this year, this is our “Sputnik moment.” Let’s get excited about going into the world. We’re young. We’re smart. We’re energetic. We’re hip.
A rough job market? No worries. Let’s change it.
It’s hard to believe, but I’m already a Senior at Goucher College. It’s been an amazing three years, and I’m excited to round out my time at this wonderful place.
The start to the year was crazy, so I’m just finding the time now to get back onto Billie with an I.E. and reflect on the work I’m doing. This will without a doubt be the busiest year I’ve had here. I know it’ll also be the most rewarding.
I’m the Editor-In-Chief of The Quindecim, Goucher’s Independent Student Newspaper. I spent the summer making significant changes to all aspects of the publication, and we’ve already received nothing but positive feedback and encouragement from many people on campus and in the Towson area.
Throughout the year, I’ll also be writing an extensive Senior Thesis for honors in the Communications and Media Studies department. Because overseeing our newspaper is what I’m most passionate about (and what takes up a major part of my schedule), I’ve decided to focus the project on student newspapers on college campuses throughout the country. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the balance and interaction between college administrations and student newspapers.
I looked at some very impressive Graduate programs for Journalism this summer, and may decide to apply to them this Fall.
I’m one of the Captains of the Men’s Varsity Tennis team, which I’ve been a part of during my four years here. We’re several weeks into our fall season, and have approximately twenty matches, as well as a trip to Orlando, Florida, scheduled for this coming Spring. I look forward to leading the team in our longtime quest to reach the conference playoffs.
After living in the un-airconditioned, oldest, mostly freshman-filled dorm on campus, I’ve upgraded my living situation as well. I’m living in a spacious, airy apartment on campus with three of my closest friends here. I enjoy having company again after living in a single room for the past two years.
I’ll also continue being a statistician for the Goucher Basketball teams, take photographs for several offices on campus, and complete several other odd jobs that I get asked to do here and there.
And I’m taking three interesting classes.
Life is grand!
I went to the “Donning of the Kente Cloth” ceremony at Goucher for the first time this year. Graduating seniors were draped in cloth strips of kente, a colorful fabric native to Ghana. The cloth, traditionally representative of the wearer’s personal history, social values, and political beliefs, is worn during graduation.
I shot the ceremony for The Goucher Quarterly, but having never been before, I didn’t really know what to expect. Each student honored spoke to the audience. It was a nice opportunity for them to express their thanks and reflect on their time at Goucher.
After looking through my work the next day, it seemed like I focused most on the emotions that came with receiving this honor. The day was filled with tears, laughter, and long embraces with family and friends.
I was happy with this frame. I think it sums up the feel of the event nicely. I’m sure my emotions will be just as high a year from now, when I’ll be the one graduating.