I’m often shocked by how quickly word travels among my family and my community.
After the semester was over and I had finished my exams, I went back to Milwaukee to spend two weeks at home. I saw family members, friends from high school and my co-workers. I was usually greeted with “Hi Madeline! I hear you’re going to Alaska this summer.”
Yes, I am. Let me guess, my mother and/or father told you?
Ever since I discovered Creighton’s Journalism department had a Backpack Journalism program, I wanted to be a part of one of the experiences. I had heard countless good things, basically that it was beyond cool.
I was also amazed by the results of the the trip. In the summer of 2012, the Backpack group traveled to Uganda and produced a documentary entitled Wer Uganda, which highlights the role of music in the Ugandan culture. I went to the campus screening of it and was absolutely amazed. To think that a group of college students, with the help of a few professors, could produce a short film that was screened at the Omaha Film Festival was, again, beyond cool.
These trips, up to this point, were a way to travel outside of the States, something which I’ve never done. I had never arranged a semester or summer to study abroad, so this was a perfect opportunity to do so. Of course, the year I commit to going, the group is going to Alaska. Although it is one of the States, I have heard we won’t feel like we’re in America, so I guess I can justify it.
I am reminded every day as we prepare to go on this trip that this is not a vacation. We’re going to Alaska to work, to interview and shoot video for 12-14 hours on a daily basis. If I’m traveling to any place outside of the Midwest, I do like to think of it as a vacation. But I am completely prepared to do more than relax and sit on the beach.
I’d like to think of this trip as more than a vacation. It’s an experience beyond what a common tourist would come across. On this trip, I have the opportunity to get to know the Yup’ik people. I get to listen to them and I get to share their story. Establishing those relationships is something about which I’m totally excited.
I’m also excited to experience real journalism. Sure, I write stories weekly for our student newspaper the Creightonian, but this is the real deal. This is what I hope to do one day, every day: go out, find a story, interview people, get a couple photos/shoot some video, and come back with a worthy story. I’m excited to strengthen my writing and interviewing skills as well as learn as much as I can about a professional camera and shooting video, neither of which I have experienced.
All in all, I hope to use much of my brain on this “vacation,” which is a hope I probably don’t share with many people thinking “vacation.”