WJMC Day 4

The highlight of my fourth day at WJMC was definitely Carol Guzy’s presentation. Her words and her pictures just melted my heart. She said something along the lines of “I believe in raw honesty…” her saying that meant so much to me. Almost everyone in the room was either sobbing at her presentation or trying immensely not to cry. We also listened to Sonya Ross speak, she brought up a lot of people I didn’t know  much about and it encouraged me to  look up some of these people. Lastly, I thought the college admissions talk was super helpful and made me less stressed about applying to colleges throughout my senior year. Below is a slideshow with pictures of Soyna Ross and Carol Guzy. Also, the fifth picture is a picture I took trying to capture two students from my color group crying at Carol’s presentation but they started laughing.

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WJMC Day 3

The third day at the George Mason Washington Media conference was packed full with some amazing experiences and some not so amazing experiences. For one, I became very sick that day. Also, my color group walked to the White House and all over D.C making me very tired. On the other hand, we went to a very nice, old family Italian restaurant called Buca de bepo The cheesecake was great and I will honestly say that day three was the day I found out who my friends were going to be for the rest of the conference. Ultimately, the day was tiring but worth the great conversations and friends I made. Below is a picture of me before I passed out in the Lincoln Memorial. (Yes that happened and yes I’m ok.)DC

WJMC: Day 2

Monday, July 18th was like most of our days here packed full of activities to participate in. We woke up very early and went to the Newseum which was amazing I wish we had received more time there. My favorite part was definitely the Pulitzer picture prize exhibit. In that exhibit, there was one photo that really broke my heart. It was a man hanging from a tree being publicly humiliated and beaten with a chair. But, there was something I noticed about the picture that really killed me, the majority of the people in the crowd were laughing and happy. We also, listened to Terry Jackson speak and listened to a politics panel. Terry Jackson was inspiring but it was also kind of frightening to hear his story. Below is a brief slideshow presentation of my second day at WJMC.

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Sunday July 17th–I arrived at WJMC, nervous about meeting new people, wondering how I could just approach someone and just immediately introduce myself. I met my roommates, Sarah Linkous, Brittany Bloom, and Beatrice Belmonte and befriended Sarah. Her spunk and sarcastic personality was appealing. Below, are some pictures of Day one at The George Mason Washington Journalism and Media Conference.

Some of my Stories

Well, since the conference is 175 days and 23 hours away I figured I would post some of my past stories I have been writing for my school newspaper, the Raider Reader. Here’s the link  http://www.raiderreader.org/

And here are a few of my stories… http://www.raiderreader.org/why-you-shouldnt-shame-bodies/     http://www.raiderreader.org/no-shave-november-or-movember/  http://www.raiderreader.org/karolina-berg-exchange-program/  http://www.raiderreader.org/its-unfortunately-a-girl/  http://www.raiderreader.org/gender-equality-is-important/  http://www.raiderreader.org/unconventional-paths/

My New Experience at WJMC

Anxious 17 Year old Begins a New, Nerve-Wracking Experience!

Before I tell you how I got here, let me tell you I am not an experienced blogger so please don’t be too harsh on me.

My name is Sierra Watts and this July I will be attending the George Mason Washington Media and Journalism Conference.

This school year, a little before Christmas break, I received a letter that I was nominated for the conference. I had about two years of experience in the “field,” (for lack of a better term.) I truly discovered my passion for writing really just last year. No matter how cliche I sound, I truly love to write and express myself but also portray an objective point of view on often-times very controversial subjects. I love the liberation I feel when I write. In my Journalism class I get to write about just about anything I want (obviously I try to push the limits as far as I can).

When I saw this letter it didn’t look like those typical scams you get in the mail and decided they are a waste of time and money. I took it to my favorite teacher Ms. Davenport (of course my Journalism teacher). She explained to me that she nominated me for the conference which was a total ego boost. I have never once been presented with such a good opportunity (for me personally).

So, I decided with my mom in spite of financial issues that I would pursue the conference. I applied for scholarships everywhere I could think of. I applied to the program itself, and when I didn’t receive the scholarship I honestly took it very personally. I had decided that if I wasn’t “worthy” of a scholarship then I would embarrass myself at the conference (even though I was accepted), only to later discover the scholarship was based on financial need. My mom makes too much money (not taking in consideration debt) for me to receive a scholarship.

Finally, my mother, after many battles, had convinced me to go. It took a lot of effort to persuade me. I let my pride get in the way of this amazing opportunity. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough and embarrass  myself.

I live in an extremely small town and not the cute kind of town you’re imagining. There are about three bars in walking distance of my house. My school is made up of about three towns: Great Bend, Hallstead, and New Milford Pennsylvania (yes, I used an oxford comma). To give you an idea of how rural of an area I live in the “style” in my school is cowboy boots and camouflage everything. The confederate flag is seen as, “Southern pride.” I hate to break it to you but we live in the North not the South. Worst of all, the closest mall is thirty five  minutes away and the closest grocery store is 15 minutes away (and I live in town!) So the big idea of all of that is that I am crazy nervous to go some place new all alone. Especially when I am a “misfit” where I live. Oh well, I am so excited to leave what I call “Pennsyl-tuckey,” and maybe prove to myself I can be independent and confident enough to succeed at the conference.

(And yes, that picture is me being all weird and nervous)