Working with high school students this summer has been simultaneously the worst and best thing I could do before my senior year of college.
Last week, 40 high school students from across the country came to Chapel Hill for the first Carolina Sports Journalism Camp. I am beyond jealous of the campers and all of the things they got to experience – complete tours of UNC sports media facilities, including the Dean Dome and Kenan Stadium; their own press conference with Dexter Strickland; and sessions led by professionals from ESPN and The Washington Post (just to name a few). Although it wasn’t all fun (the campers spent late nights writing several feature stories), I would have done just about anything to have some of those experiences beneath my belt.
Just like at the NCSMA summer institute, working with high school students does not help my “end of college crisis” and my “feeling old”. I would do just about anything to start from the beginning again or even have one more year in college. There are so many opportunities that there really isn’t enough time to do everything at UNC. Despite how proud I was of the students on the last day, I envy them for already having such incredible experiences before even coming here, while there is still so much I feel like I have not done.
On the other hand, the enthusiasm and wide-eyes of the campers reminded me of one thing – how much I love this university. I remember the first time I came to campus and had the same feelings – embarrassment when tripping over bricks for the first time, confusion while trying to figure out campus, and pure excitement when seeing the Old Well for the first time. As anyone who has met me knows, I am definitely not shy about my love of UNC, but sometimes even I forget what an amazing place UNC is because of all the opportunities offered to students.
Working with the camp was a great experience, even as an outsider. Even though I dragged my feet to work some days (in the 100+ degree weather), their words of appreciation and contagious enthusiasm made every minute worth it. It’s great to be reminded how lucky I am to have spent the past three years here, but also how much more I can do in my last year.