“Guys where are you?”
“We’re at baggage claim number 6”
“Ok, I’ll be there soon.”
So I had been talking to WJMC correspondents over the group chat and we all have a good little bit in common: we are all pretty laid back, we are all still a little uncertain about our futures, and we are all unique and somewhat geeky in our own ways. I walk into the DCA airport baggage claim 6, and I spot a REALLY tall man in a green shirt herding this little group of confused kids in black shirts wandering around like nerdy little sheep. Black sheep to be exact. A good majority of us come from small towns and you could already tell many of us were the outsiders, the social pariahs, the ones who just don’t quite fit in with the typical social butterflies. But, oddly enough, put that many awkward, nerdy, really not sociable or self confident people together, and they really come out of their shells! It’s actually quite amazing watching people who typically panic around strangers, or just not used to having this many intelligent people around them at once flower open and become energetic and talkative! No one is left out here, and in 2 days, I’ve already made a ton of friends. My squad is the Green Gang, which we call “Gang Green. WE’RE INFECTIOUS”. Honestly, there is such a great diversity here. Just in my little group alone, you’ve got the sporty people, the picky eaters, the germaphobes, the nerds, the socially anxious, the loud, the quiet, the different sexualities, the different genders, the twisted sense of humored ones, the innocent, the not-so-innocent, just so many genuine REAL people. We all get along great! No one is ignored or pushed away, and we engage in intelligent debates where we try to understand other points of view and agree to disagree if the situation calls for it. There are no fights, no hostility, no rudeness. Everyone is treated like an equal. I love the fact that such a diverse group can get over each own’s differences and get along so well.
Photo in our “Gang Green” group chat taken at the Newseum in D.C.
I’m on my way to the first airport in Tallahassee! As we get closer and closer the realization that I’m going to be halfway across the country away from my family makes itself more present. I think my grandma is starting to realize I’m not the little baby I was 12 years ago as she fiddles with her wedding band nervously. I myself am just now realizing I’m not quite a child anymore. I am responsible for my actions and I won’t have them to fall back on. This trip will give me just a small taste of what being on my own will be like. I’ve already said goodbye to my dad and gave my dogs a long belly scratch and an air kiss on the nose. Nerves have taken hold of me, but really, the excitement overrides them. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone. Happy travels!
After half a year of waiting to meet the other students attending WJMC, it is finally time. I am soooo stoked! I’ve been talking to some of the kids lately on a group chat and they are absolutely just so sweet! It’s 5:35 and I have to go put makeup on and attempt to put my hair in a decent pony tail. I leave at 7:15, should get to the airport by 9, and my flight leaves at 11. There will be pictures on here of my adventures. Happy travels, other WJMC students!!
I can’t sleep 😣 I’m too excited about the trip. This will be my first time flying without my grandparents and only my second time flying. Let’s hope a creeper isn’t sitting by me on the planes. I’m thankful that my grandma made it to where I changed flights in Charlotte, (one of the Carolinas, I can’t remember), instead of Atlanta. I went to the Atlanta airport in 2014 when I went to the national spelling bee. Even with my grandparents, the enormous place filled with easily a few thousand people was incredibly frightening. All of those people packed into one space! Something was bound to happen, and the recent shootings and attacks had me worried. I understand security is great there, but really, if you wanted to, you can ALWAYS find a way. I depend on my grandparents entirely too much and I leave the house in less than a year and a half. I have to start growing up. Honestly, just the trip to the trip will be a major experience for me. Having to go through security and paperwork alone, navigating three airports without help, being around that many people. That’s going to be a frightening thing for me. But I’ll get over it and take it all in stride. I have to. I am immature for my age, but I’m pretty mature in the ways I need to be. Dealing with strangers without my dad around or my grandparents? That’s an entirely different deal. It’s been driven into me that absolutely ANYTHING could happen to a girl my size and no one would know. I’ve been raised to be wary of people that I don’t know. I mean, adding on to the fact that I already have trust issues due to my past, now there’s all of these attacks and shootings. It’s getting to the point where even the bravest and the most macho are starting to live in constant fear. So where does that leave people like me? People like me that already constantly worry and are nervous and scared? Darn well near paranoid! I’m not saying I’m going to break out crying or have a panic attack, but it’s going to take me a great amount of bravery to deal with this feat. Honestly, getting over myself and interacting with those that I don’t know face to face will be my biggest struggle. Once I get over that, I know I’ll be able to conquer anything! Which is why I’m going to suck it up, give it my all, and talk to some strangers!
Today is packing day! Yep that means hours of trying to pick through my makeup, double- and triple-checking the airline rules on what I can pack, and dreading over the fact that I can fit inside of my suitcase/duffle bag thingy. My gala dress also comes home from the tailor today! Short girl problems. It was a small and still about 7 inches too long, even with heels on! Looking forward to seeing what it will look like now that it will fit! Random thought: I’m curious about the dorms and my dormmates. I hope they’re nice. (Fingers crossed!!) Well, I gotta go start packing.
So, last year, I was given the opportunity to attend this year’s National Youth Journalism and Media Conference at George Mason University. I took the chance and I leave Sunday. I am so excited and I will leave plenty of updates the next week!
I have been a band student since 6th grade. I play trumpet. And I absolutely love it. There’s something about actually experiencing the music through you, knowing that you are a part of it. It’s amazing to be honest. Seriously, so many people have no clue what they’re missing out on.
I’m also in the Senior Beta club at my school. We went to the state convention not long ago and I won the spelling competition, which qualified us for nationals. Sadly, we didnt go.
I also enjoy cooking with my grandma. I’m a country girl, though, so you know how cookin’ is down here. If you can’t grill it, fry it. If you can’t fry it, grill it.
I enjoy spending time with my “little sister” (not my actual sister) pretty much every weekend. She’s an absolute sweetheart and looks up to me as her big sister.
Lastly, I’m addicted to social media and reading. I absolutely live on Instagram and Snapchat during the brief times that I’m not reading or writing.