New York awakens student spirit

Louis LaVenture,

With just two quarters to go before I graduate, I am starting to hit a wall.

Some people call it ‘senioritis;’ I call it fatigue.

In addition to working nights, I also go to school full time and run this student newspaper. It’s safe to say, my time is stretched thin.

I felt a lack of interest in all my classes last quarter and it carried over to this one, but it seemed even more intense. Then I got the news that turned it all around, a trip to New York for a college editor’s workshop at the legendary New York Times.

For somebody interested in pursuing a career in journalism like myself, this is the holy land, Mecca, if you will.

The trip caused me to fall even further behind in all of my classes but I didn’t care. I got to learn tips and tricks from some of the top people in the industry and the experience was priceless. I met editors from schools all over the country like the University of Miami and Cornell University. It was invigorating and exciting to see all of these young college students so passionate about journalism.

I got back from New York late Saturday night and as I lay in my bed I thought about a story New York Times National Editor Marc Lacey told us at the workshop. He said that he and his friend visited New York when he was in college and they tried to get inside of the newspaper’s building. The security guard in front said they needed clearance to get in and denied them, but he told them to sign up for a tour. Lacey said him and his friend took a picture in front of the building and promised each other they would work there some day, using the photo for inspiration.

It worked; they both ended up working there and now Lacey is in one of the top positions in the country.

So I did the same thing. While I wasn’t denied entrance, I still took a picture in front so I can use it as my motivation to not only get hired there, but to continue to work toward my dream job of writing or editing at a publication as prestigious as the Times.

The trip lit a fire under me to finish school and made my classes exciting again, not because they are—trust me, Victorian-era British literature is not a class that screams fun—but because I know where my degree can lead me. From Hayward to New York, hopefully I can tell a room full of students my story some day, of how I went from South Hayward to the fifteenth floor of the Times that holds every Pulitzer Prize they won since 1918.