Over my student publications career I spent time on the road and in the sky traveling to conferences. Each was a chance for us to learn and receive awards. Recently I had the opportunity to be on the other side of a conference but before that, here are some of the best moments during my time away from the newsroom.
I started in Philadelphia and the entire experience was overwhelming the first time. On top of that Shipp put me in an on-the-spot competition. Mine was design and they gave me a theme and then I had to draw out a cover and theme pages. I thought I did terrible but I won. Kind of. I was in the top 3 % out of the entire competition which had a lot of designers participate. I was pretty excited and I still have the layouts. I still attribute that competition to one of the first things that helped me realize I was good at design.
While in Saint Louis, they provided activities to try and keep us high schoolers out of trouble including a dance. Apparently the group of 500 + teenagers were shaking the chandeliers on the floor below so they shut it down. Shuffling hundreds of hyped up kids down the escalators we started promoting the party continue in our room. “PARTY IN 325” we yelled as we were herded back to our rooms. We had a couple people show up but no further partying continued, besides the fun we had with our own group.
After becoming Editor-in-Chief at Northwest I attended a summer conference. Seven students flew to Miami with Kevin, who was our stand in advisor. The best part of the trip had nothing to do with the culture shock of the city but with Kevin trying to drive a van full of us and not kill us. He even managed to get us to the beach, before dropping us off at the airport, so we could go swimming. During that school year some of the same group headed back to Florida. The best part of this conference was going to Universal Studios and watching, Trey, Amanda and Ty in Harry Potter world. The added bonus to the trip was that my aunt and uncle took us out to dinner!
As my time as Editor came to a close we traveled to New York again and the best part was getting my tattoo. Lori and I were supposed to go together but she chickened out and went to a comic book store instead! I dragged Karl and Mara to a studio during some down time. I held Mara’s hand and then we had to find a Walgreens for all the supplies to take care of it. I called my parents and after neither of them seemed too surprised I am still thankful I took the chance. It’s one of my favorite memories.
After leaving my position on Tower I couldn’t imagine not spending my life in Wells so I convinced my EIC BFF Trey to hire me. Trey and I had grown to be friends over sharing stories about staff members and missed deadlines. He was a constant support system for me and taught me a lot. I attended my very last conference representing the dark side in Joplin Missouri. My memory is mostly running back and forth from my seat to the front of the room to accept every first place yearbook award. It was wonderful to be recognized for our yearbook work but looking back leaving with those awards gave me confidence when I graduated that I can do this just like my first award.
Not long after graduation I made the trip to Ames to meet with Laura about jobs. She said something over lunch that I never dreamed of, “We are having a conference this summer, and would you be interested in helping?”
My first conference as a helper/student publications consultant was the Journalism Leadership and Management Conference at Iowa State. It was mostly made up of newspaper editors but I was able to spend a lot of time with two yearbook girl’s form American in D.C. and Tower’s next editor, Kelsey. It was wonderful to be able to help and hopefully inspire some students. I was even a part of a personal growth panel where myself and five former Iowa State Daily editors gave advice on what we wish we had known, done and our oh shit moments. I loved sitting down after speaking to see that the students had tweeted what I said. I challenged the group to fail (something I learned from Kevin) to not compare themselves to others and not to worry so much.
Being able to come full circle in the student publications world, even if it was just a small panel means so much to me. Student publication was my clique in high school and my family at Northwest. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without the people I met, the things I did and that first on-the-spot competition in Philadelphia all those years ago.
Use the hash tag #JLMC13 to see feedback from Iowa State and look below for photos from all the student pub conferences I have been to.