When parents and students ask me about my home school at Northwestern, Medill, I open my response very intentionally and very carefully.
“I’ll be honest, it’s really hard for me to say anything about Medill, because they literally handed me my dream job.”
It’s true. Medill’s vaunted Journalism Residency program, an internship all students have the option of taking advantage of, places juniors and seniors at various workplaces around the country. These can be specialized, local publications like New York Magazine or the Texas Tribune, or these can be big-ticket names like Facebook. Ever since I was a freshman, I had one place pegged where I wanted to do my JR: ESPN’s Grantland. This past spring, I earned it. Medill is sending me to Los Angeles in the fall to work for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. I can’t believe it.
So the short answer to the “What am I looking forward to?” question is exactly that: I’m really pumped about spending a quarter in California, working alongside the writers I grew up reading and talking about the things I love to talk about most—sports and popular culture. I start September 21, and that’s been a day marked on my calendar since the minute I received the call from Medill. However, in a broader sense, I feel like I’m most looking forward to Grantland because it will initiate a positive, Yes-Man attitude into the remainder of my senior year.
I’ll come back to campus in January a better journalist, to be sure, but I’ll also be returning to college life, after playing the part of well, an actual professional. I’ll have two classes left to take in order to graduate, but while it’s tempting to graduate early, that’s off my radar. I think having only two quarters left on a campus I love, among friends I might never have all together again, will be a welcome reality check after taking some time away. With senior year comes certain worries, to be sure, but it also brings a certain freedom I’m really excited about. This is my last chance at Northwestern to just do whatever. I’ll know what “the real world” is like, and it will inform my mindset for the rest of my college experience.
The work in LA, taken in its pure form, will be a blast, but other rewards will materialize after I return to campus. Yes, it’ll be the same academic grind and the same clubs and groups, but in light of what lies ahead, my final collegiate months are going to be seen through a purple filter, and while that sounds overly-romantic and cornball, it feels like a positive. I know that years down the road I’m going to miss Northwestern, but I don’t want to lament anything about my time here—it’s the same idea with Grantland, actually. I’m excited to be a senior. It’s going to be a seat-of-your-pants kind of ride, but I designed it that way. Northwestern gave me my dream gig, but it also gave me a last shot to “do college right.” Pretty cool that I didn’t have to choose.
photo credit: usa.thebiglead.files.wordpress.com.