Student Voices: Leaving Camp with an Amazing Group of Friends

When discovering new places or new things, people are often nervous.

Before this summer internship, I was definitely nervous. In fact, I felt like I was going to vomit the whole way here.

By spending a lot of time with new friends and meeting old mentors, I realized how much I had overreacted.

This group, this experience, whatever you want to call it, gave me a sense of freedom and a vision of possible future outcomes. Whether it’s a career in journalism, a newfound love for photography, or just a taste of college life, it’s been worth it.

I learned a lot in this camp, including audio journalism, but my favorite was the photography part. I took the camera and couldn’t put it down.

Bringing moments to light is one of my favorite things to do, and if you’ve had a long enough conversation with me, you’ll know how much I love to talk about memories. I especially love spotlighting people, bad or good, but the good ones are favored, especially those from a past workshop I had with the Oregonian in December.

Jayati Ramakrishnan was my mentor during this previous workshop. When I saw her, I was so excited to talk with her. Seeing someone I admire was a pleasure, especially when we exchanged emails. It’s a connection that I intend to keep, not just for the primary purpose of journalism, for a source, but as a personal celebrity that I know.

Savannah Eadens and Sami Edge were also at the Oregonian workshop and are also mentors here. While we didn’t make an insane amount of money, it was really fun to hear what Savannah is doing as a crime reporter by her peers, by herself, or by her work, just like Sami bringing us some sweets at the start of camp was a sweet introduction.

During the program, my partner Hannah Kaufmann and I were mixed with a few mentors and had different perspectives and methods of on-the-job experience.

Steven Tonthat, our permanent mentor, definitely left me with a memory. Even if it was to ask questions about the language of my generation, or to show us the side of audio journalism.

Another person worth highlighting is Elliot Njus. Our ‘M. President’ left a kinder, more humorous aspect of my time here, whether it was his struggle in Clue or his willingness to conform to our particular titles. He was helpful and a very good leader.

Like I said before, I try to get along with everyone, not just adults.

Diving into how people have treated me here is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. I have such a high sense of freedom, comfort, honesty and stability here.

The people at camp have brightened up so much of my summer beyond what I thought possible. From simple scary pranks to endless UNO games, pretending I’m a CEO in a business meeting, or just engaging in a long conversation with people, the spectrum goes a long way.

I had so much fun it should be illegal, but I’m glad it’s not. Because if that was the case, I wouldn’t have been able to know all these amazing people.

Honorable mentions, Courtnie Wilson, Ellen Dong, Mindy Moradi, Aliannah Shalikan, Rachel Ehly, Terah Bennett, Suzan Nuri, Hannah Kaufmann, Ava Rapport, Zoe Toperosky, Beni Marquez and Madi Lietz. These people have all engaged with me in some way, whether I’ve been jumping down the hall with Courtnie, yelling at Ellen for winning Clue too much, or hearing Zoe and their funny work stories.

Of course I have to add the best Jaycee Kalama and Sam Misa from RA, who both made everyone’s time so much better here, buying us soap and making sure we have everything we need . Definitely an A-plus in my book.

My emotions took a big break during this camp, especially as it draws to a close. I feel like we all have to stick together even if we don’t end up doing journalism, or even some form of creative writing. Knowing people, those people, will never get boring or old for me.

Overall, I have cried many times due to my comfort in this diverse environment. If I needed help, I could ask.

I’m not one to share my feelings, but anyone reading this should know how much I care for everyone here, what I would risk for people I’ve only known for a week.

If I needed anything, I would find it here at the High School Journalism Institute, a place worth looking back on forever and ever more.

—Sebastien Gracie Fultz

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