Today is the last day of classes here at World Journalism Institute.
It’s been a fun-filled, headache-filled wild yet tedious ride of about 300 hours of classes, 180 hours of city-exploring and maybe about 20 hours of sleep.
There’s been moments of frustration. There’s been moments of stress and boredom and exhaustion. But mostly, it’s been a continuous moment of awe.
I’m in awe of God’s grace, creativity and intelligence as I watch the uniquely wonderful and talented individuals in my class. I love every instructor I’ve had for their own individual personality and quirks. I love all my classmates and I love them even more when I listen to their stories. I’ve teared up from laughter and I’ve also teared up from being moved by their testimonies.
If I can sum up my whole experience here at WJI, it’s that I’m humbled. After my depressing incident as the Summer Intern Who Messed Up last summer at the Los Angeles Times, I came into this program with a different attitude. I told myself I’m not here to “shine” and “impress.” I’m here to learn, and I’m here to continue God’s lifelong process of humbling and molding me.
That was my prayer topic in regards to WJI, and God answered it beyond my imagination.
To be honest, I’ve been slightly worried about having to live in a one-bedroom apartment with two other roommates. I’ve lived by myself for some time so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to adjust to sharing a room with other people. But that was silly. Because of course my roommates—Christina and Catherine— would be awesome.
Just look at their open, warm and beautiful faces. You can’t ask for better roommates, if you ask me. I’m so glad we got to live together under one roof, even if it’s only for three weeks. Catherine is the gal on the left and Christina is the one on the right. I’m going to stalk them in their future, because I believe they’ll both go far and accomplish great things.
I won’t even begin to explain why I admire my instructors and guest speakers.
All of them have distinct backgrounds and experiences, and they bring in unique perspectives to the table, be it as a radio guy, a TV guy, a comedian, an artist, a drama guy, a photographer, a magazine editor, a foreign correspondent, or an economist. I loved getting these snippets of different fields that correspond with my own field of journalism.
I don’t know what kind of impression I left on them, but they’ve really impressed me, even if by hour 2200 I may look a bit…zombied. Besides their intelligence and kindness, what most impressed me about them is how they center their distinct career and passions around Christ. It really demonstrated to be in tangible form how God makes each of us unique for differing yet unified purposes. You can glorify God by doing what you love.
It feels so appropriate that this course would take place in New York City, a city clogged with colorful characters, because in a more micro-scale, that’s what this WJI summer convergence course is. Meeting new people just never gets old. Every single person can surprise and humble you in intrinsic ways.
I’m going to compile some snapshots I’ve collected along the way. Hopefully one day I get the time to actually stick these pictures into a themed scrapbook.
The guy on the left is Seth Hagan, my goofy classmate who sat beside me at one desk for three weeks. The guy on the right is Alwyn Swanepoel, the sweet and oldest WJI student (40 years old!) who flew all the way from South Africa to learn multimedia journalism.
This is Rebecca Brittingham (the non-Asian), my running buddy with whom I bonded over dodging crazy taxis that seem to have a vendetta against all pedestrians.
This is Abby, with whom I discussed all sorts of “deep, religious” topics during a walk around Central Park.
This is Kara Hackett, with whom I made friends as we shivered in the chilly rain during a photo shoot assignment.
There’s a lot more people I’d love to highlight, but I should probably cease my gushing. For now.
Above is the view out of my apartment. We have H&M, Forever 21, Gap, Express, American Eagle, Steven Madden, Victoria’s Secret, UNIQLO and all sorts of other shopping areas that slowly sucked out my expenses.
This is my desk in my apartment, which gradually got messier and speckled with bagel crumbs.
This is our kitchen, which we barely used except to stock grocery items we ignored.
This is our morning donut station, which unfortunately was short-lived.
But coffee was not, thank heavens for that. Or the fact that we have like 8 different donut stores within 5-minute walk distance from where we work.
Not only is there copious coffee, WJI also kindly provided us with late-night crackers and cheese when our class ended later than intended (a-hem, 11 p.m.).
I have so much to catch up on in terms of what I love about NYC and WJI, but right now, I’m in mourning. I’m so sad that it’ll be goodbye tomorrow with my new friends and fellow journalists.
I feel like these three weeks have flown by too fast. I told a professor once that it was the longest yet shortest week of my life, and I wasn’t exaggerating. It’s been so intense, yet so thrilling and enlightening.
I’ve got myself a good chomp of the Big Apple, and as filling and satisfying as it was, I feel like I could take one more good chomp.
But that is my impatience talking. There’s more ahead, and I have a feeling I’ll meet these wonderful people again.
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