University workshop networks peers
Austin Ward, Editor
Staring down at a map of the expansive Stanford University campus, I searched for the minuscule box representing the Trancos Dorms. I would spend the next five days attending the Newspaper by the Bay journalism workshop, absorbing as much knowledge as I could for the upcoming school year.
Once I discovered its location, only one obstacle stood in between the dorm and myself: the incessant swarm of bicyclists hurtling down the road. Despite how trivial it may sound, this was no small feat as almost everyone on campus rode bikes.
After braving the intersection, I pocketed my dorm key and unlocked the door to my room. It was very different from my upscale expectations, containing only a single caged light bulb, two beds, two desks, two dressers and lackluster grey walls.
My roommate arrived a few minutes later along with his adviser and entire editorial board. I felt out of place with only one other student from my school in attendance.
The feeling of isolation snowballed the next morning when I met the rest of the students at the workshop. Almost all were upcoming seniors and editors-in-chief of their publications, while I was only a sophomore with an undetermined position. Students from across the country attended the workshop, from North Carolina to Hawaii.
In addition, they traded copies of their newspaper they brought with them; as The Feather runs online, I came empty-handed.
At 9 a.m. we traveled half a mile from our dorms to our classroom in the quad ? the heart of the campus. An opportunity to see the Spanish architecture and sculptures around the older part of the campus made the walk enjoyable despite the scorching July heat.
For seven hours ? save a welcome lunch break ? the workshop staff confined us to the classroom where they lectured us on journalism topics ranging from libel to obituary writing. After completing the assignment for the night, we were free to roam the campus.
I tried to glean as much as I could from the classes but was afraid of working too hard and missing out on unique experiences with my peers. Each told stories from their years working on their newspaper staff and shared ideas for next year.
The differences between online and printed newspapers became more distinct to me as I listened to their tales of deadline stress and mysterious page deletions. I felt relieved that I never had to to bother with AdobeŽ InDesignŽ or worry about article length.
Some of my fondest memories of the workshop were formed during these times of independence. I made many friends during afternoon jaunts to the Stanford Bookstore, campus Jamba Juice and the Lagunita ? the supposed lake that turned out to be nothing more than a grassy swamp.
While I will apply the knowledge gained from the workshop during my remaining school years, I valued the day-to-day experiences more. I had the opportunity to work with fellow high school journalists from around the country and live like a college student for a week at arguably the most prestigious university on the West Coast.