From Elon to Japan

For the past few weeks I have been swimming in a sea of internship applications. Luckily I’m an organization powerhouse; resumes and cover letters don’t stand a chance against my color coded folders. But anyway, the whole process has really got me thinking about what I want to do, and what I only want to do to look good.

The realization that I could spend a miserable summer fetching coffee just to get my foot in the door drained the sea into a shallow pool. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about accepting any task. I know it’s important to gain the trust of my peers and supervisors, and prove that I’m reliable. I’ve picked up Elon alums at the airport, spent Saturday evenings moving boxes for Residence Life and agreed to things I had no idea how I’d accomplish. In fact, my can-do attitude has gotten me into some sticky situations, because I just can’t say no. I’ve always been able to do whatever I agree to, and I pride myself on that. But what is it that I want to do? I’ve spent so long doing whatever anyone asks of me to prove myself that I’ve lost sight of the end result.

Last week in my Digital Media Convergence class we watched an awesome series of videos that gave me chills. I realized I just want to talk to people. I’m a storyteller and at listener. That’s what I enjoy doing. There’s people in this world I’ll never meet, and that makes me sad. I want to know as many people as I can. I want to see how they live, learn what they care about and why they do what they do. I’ve spent 20 years of my life in upper-middle class white American suburbia, and everyone I’ve met has had a story–so imagine the sort of stories I’d hear if I branched out. I’m ready for that.

I’ve never really done any traveling. My parents work so hard to give me and my sister everything they can, and I appreciate that.  Those long hours at the office kept us from boarding flights or packing up the mini van, so my college education in the somewhat-south has been my first exposure to another culture. From a young age I craved other countries, languages, foods and sights. My father subscribed me to National Geographic in elementary school, and I looked through the pictures longingly. I’ve reached a point where I desperately want to travel, to see the world and its people. I want to leave my macbook behind and shake the hands of children and adults who see the world differently.

I can hardly afford to go to the movies right now, so I’m afraid international travel is on hold without scholarships. My must-see destination is Asia, so I’m starting by applying for the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition, to see if I can travel to Japan this summer. It’s an amazing opportunity, and my application is on its way as of today, so wish me luck! Until then, my mail will see more exotic places than me. But I can wait.

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