This past weekend was Parents’ Weekend. Although balancing a full-time internship with classes has left me with the illusion that I’m a mature young professional, there is nothing quite like having the comforts of home — and specifically your loving, lonely parents — greeting you after a tough adjustment to your new independent life.
Every Friday our program enjoys two guest speakers — sometimes even alumni from the College of William and Mary — whose careers relate to the broad theme of our semester: politics in the era of social media. This Friday, considering it was Parents’ Weekend, the D.C. Office invited two incredibly impressive speakers. Perhaps they needed to remind our parents that the increase in their tuition payment is truly worth it.
Our first guest speaker was Paula Reid ’05, a former lawyer who is now a CBS reporter covering the Justice Department and legal affairs. She was our program’s first guest speaker involved directly with the media. Since I was in third grade, I wanted to be a journalist. I guess it was one of those pipe dreams that never really faded. When applying to colleges, I applied to eight schools with journalism programs and the College. Look where I ended up.
I joined The Flat Hat immediately to get my journalism fix and found out about this semester program on my first day of classes from my American politics professor, who runs the program this semester. So far in our Tuesday and Thursday classes, our readings have a negative bias toward the media, but Reid reminded me exactly why I want to be a journalist.
When people ask me what I want to do after graduation and I tell them journalism, I often get mixed reactions. Some say, “But newspapers are going extinct. It’s a dying industry.” Or, better yet, my favorite: “The media is evil. Why would you want to be a part of a network that lies and covers stupid stories?”
I have several rebuttals to those ignorant statements, but Reid’s were much more eloquent and powerful.
As she pointed out, we pick our media sources now. If you have a negative idea of the media, it is your own fault. Reid’s journey to get where she is today is inspiring and remarkable. For instance, she took the bus from Philadelphia to New York City every day for an unpaid internship at CBS because she couldn’t afford New York rent. Ultimately, you make your own luck. Reid is living proof of that.
Our second speaker was another College alumna, Jen Psaki ’00. For those of you who don’t immediately recognize her name, she is the former spokesperson for the United States Department of State and was recently (as in a few days ago) appointed as the White House Communications Director.
She made time out of her crazy schedule to meet with my program and our parents to talk about her wild journey to reach where she is today. She is the most humble, down-to-earth human being, and it was an honor to sit in the same room as her — and later beg for, and succeed in, getting a picture with her.
The rest of my weekend was filled with delicious meals, a snowstorm, a walk around the gates of the White House, and the theft of my phone on the metro. You have to balance out the good with the bad, I guess.