When this photo was taken, I had just gotten off a plane from Atlanta to Phoenix. I had spent 10 days prior in Alabama, having the greatest reporting trip of my life. While my teammates (understandably) took naps, I changed out of my airport sweats and slipped on a dress.
I had never felt so inspired in my life. As I ran to the newsroom in the 110 degree heat I couldn’t stop thinking of the days prior - sipping sweet tea in Selma, staring down the halls of the state capitol, and sitting quietly in Tuskegee’s city hall.
I still remember everything about that day - eating leftover donuts, gushing to friends about the trip, our newsroom debating over who would be named “newsroom president” (I never said News21 was filled with normal, boring young journalists), and going to a friend’s 21st birthday party that night in my pajamas.
I can tell you what was written on that board - notes from the overview team, phone numbers for Cronkite News, a bell curve, our newsroom “person of the day,” and a quote from The Bee Movie (see last parenthetical note).
However I don’t remember who captured this moment, so forgive me for the lack of photo credit.
At this moment, I felt like I was on top of the world. The next day I sat on the light rail with friends on the way to Tempe, and I felt like I was actually shining for the first time in about a year.
After that things got a little messier. Life got a little tougher. To sum it up, life got complicated.
I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things -
If you’re reading this you might be going through the same thing. You might have just come back from the opportunity of a lifetime, and feel like you’ve been changed forever. Maybe it’s an internship, a study abroad trip, even a volunteer mission. We used to call it a “camp high” when I was a kid.
You might not ever be the same. When you talk to your college friends about it, they might not get it. Your family might shrug it off.
There are different ways you can commemorate the trip. I have friends who got tattoos in foreign countries, or piercings with their friends from internships. I brought back a pile of notes, maps of Phoenix and Alabama, and a “tan.”
Either way, keep that glow. Keep that shine.
You won’t realize how much you’ll miss it until it’s gone.