I don’t know just how much I believe the phrase “all good things come to an end,” but that’s how it felt on Friday as I had to leave the Washington Journalism and Media Conference (WJMC) at George Mason University (GMU). I’ve had the experience of a lifetime at WJMC. I’m so glad I was able to blog about the whole thing so you could experience it with me (more or less) and so I will be able to look back on this precious week as time passes! If you missed any of my last five posts recapping the conference, you can find them here, here, here, here, and here. Without further adieu, here’s my recap of my last day at WJMC.
I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to guarantee I had enough time to get ready for breakfast and finish packing toiletries and bedding that I wasn’t able to pack the night before. I took out the trash, packed all of my provided linens into the pillow case the way we were instructed to the night before, shoved my fitted sheet and still damp towel into my suitcase, and threw on a tee shirt, Nike shorts, and Chacos before taking my suitcase downstairs and meeting my friend Abbey for our last breakfast.
I had the timing wrong for my final color group meeting, so I had to eat breakfast in five minutes to be on time. In this five minutes, I ate a bowl of Cocoa Puffs alongside Abbey and a few of her friends from her color group. It’s so crazy how nice everyone at WJMC was and I wish I had enough time to build friendships with more people, including Abbey’s friends.
At 7:45 a.m. I left breakfast and met up with my color group outside the dining hall one last time. We walked to a lounge inside one of the dorm buildings for our final meeting. Here we discussed travel plans, what we learned at WJMC (about journalism, ourselves, and new friends), and how much we’re all going to miss each other. After coming close to tears, we were instructed to go back to the Johnson Center for the closing ceremony.
Inside the Johnson Center, we went to Dewberry Hall. Dewberry Hall is the large room in which we had our first meal together on Sunday evening and heard presentations from Kevin McCarthy, Sonya Gavankar, and more. At this time, Sam Wolf, a former WJMC correspondent, WJMC Social Media Supervisor, and GMU student, took the stage and summed up all the bittersweet sadness we were feeling as our departure times crept closer. He told us how to move forward from this week and let it change us for the better. Next, Amy Takayama-Perez took the stage again for a congratulations and goodbye. As Amy Takayama-Perez exited the stage, the slideshow began playing. It brought so much joy and simultaneous sadness to us all to see the memories we’ve made over just five days.
After the slide show, we came to the courtyard and began saying our goodbyes. I had the first shuttle to the airport, so I had to leave all my friends at 10:30 a.m. I’m not even going to lie, I cried. A lot. What started as my attempt to make a few friends that I could talk to in order to avoid being awkwardly alone became a handful of super close friendships with people from all around the country and I just wasn’t ready to let go.
WJMC, thank you for what was truly one of the best weeks of my life. Thank you for teaching me more about journalism than I could’ve ever possibly learned in high school. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear from and meet lots of amazing speakers. Thank you for showing me that journalism is a field I want to be in. Thank you for showing me that I’m more outgoing than I think I am. Thank you for giving me the best friends, Faculty Advisor, and Junior Faculty Advisor I could’ve ever asked for. Thank you for giving me something so hard to leave.
If you ever get the opportunity to go to WJMC, I wholeheartedly think that you should go. It was without a doubt one of the best weeks of my life and I’ll never forget it. Thank you for reading my posts this week! Be sure that you’re following me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith here so you never miss a detail of my upcoming travels.
P.S. – Sorry there’s no pictures in this recap, but I was so busy preparing to leave and giving genuine goodbyes that I didn’t really think to ever pull out my camera.