When I try to explain to people why I am going on a Backpack Journalism trip to Bethel, Alaska this summer, I tend to get the question a lot, “Why are you, a Biology/Pre-Dental Major, in a Backpack Journalism program?” But my answer to those people is, “Why not!” I believe that inside everyone is the need for a sense of adventure. I figured that if my dream of going to dental school and becoming a dentist does work out, I would never be able to have an opportunity like this to travel to Alaska and be a part of a theology and journalism class that gets to produce a documentary. Now how many people get to say they were part of a documentary team?
I just so happened to see my window of opportunity one day while on my way back from class one day to my dorm room. Just to pass the time, as I waited for my elevator to come, I glanced over at the flyers hanging on the wall that no one usually pays attention to anyways. Thank goodness I actually paid attention to those flyers for once because I saw this bright blue (actually my favorite color!) poster that said “Want to travel to Alaska?” I knew right there that I had found my window of opportunity. My elevator finally came, but I wanted to find out more about this Alaskan adventure…so I took the poster (oops!) and hung it up on my wall until the day I moved out. And what do you know? I am going to Alaska! I’m not going to lie,I had to do a little research as to what Backpack Journalism was at first. After meeting with Dr. O’Keefe, our Theology professor, and attending a couple information meetings I immediately became intrigued and wanted to learn more about the Yupik people and the role of theology and the Church. Just the thought that these people have a story waiting to be heard by the world is just surrounding me with so much excitement and anticipation!
Of course I hope to discover new passions and things about myself that I’ve never been able to experience before until now with this trip. However, my main hope with this project is to be able to learn in a whole new way than what I am used to. It is one thing to sit in class and listen to a lecture. It is a completely different way of learning by going out of my comfort zone and to be able to immerse myself in a different culture and help tell a story with this documentary about the Yupik people. I just have a gut instinct this one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.