While spending ten days at Princeton University, we participated in a program designed to give us insight into multiple areas of journalism. Toward the end of the program, we spent some time talking about what we enjoyed and what can be improved. We are appreciative for the support from the counselors and speakers, and for the knowledge we gained. We also think that improvements can be made regarding scheduling, interaction time, and campus experience.
SJP’s reliable counselors and encouraging support system were major highlights of the program. We really enjoyed having SJP alumni as part of the staff; they provided the “inside scoop” on what to expect from SJP. The staff constantly encouraged us to believe in the potential of our abilities; we found their guidance on the college application process very insightful and full of tips. The counselors explained that the second half of the program starts after students leave Princeton’s campus, when students will be in constant contact with their designated counselor, who will assist them through the college application process. The program also provided us with a network of sources to help navigate journalism, which was also very useful. Students attended varying workshops, on topics including photojournalism, food journalism, sports journalism and investigative journalism. Students also attended talks on basic skills that a journalist will need—things such as interviewing, researching, remaining ethical, and writing opinions. After experiencing something new every day, students are now prepared to succeed in the world of journalism.
As a result of the super productive schedule that we had the opportunity to experience, lack of sleep was also a factor. Sleep deprivation is common and a genuine concern among students. Our argument is that, if you are going to have us working all day, at least supply coffee every morning. Lol. Moreover, students would have appreciated a full tour of the campus. Most of the program took place in two locations: the dining hall and the classroom. A campus tour would have provided students with a general idea of Princeton, and the beautiful aspects that make it a great place. Group discussions were popular among students, and we suggest adding more discussion time for bonding between students and counselors. Similarly, students wished for more social collaboration among their peers. Even though students were interested in listening to speakers during the workshops, we would have liked more time to interact with each other.
Over the past ten days, we—students from all over the country—have had the opportunity to learn about a field that interests us. We know we will be assisted in our college admission process this fall, and we now know the importance of sleep. We return home with strong mindsets—and the ability to seek knowledge and to document the world around us.