Sunday, August 9, 2009

An inside perspective on the alumni panel

SJP Alumni were invited to return to this year's program to motivate the students and offer advice. (Photo Credit: Brian Rokus '99). 
By Xiu Zhen Fang (New York, NY)

Yesterday, I was invited to return to speak at the SJP alumni panel and one thing I realized that all of the speakers had in common was the degree to which SJP has changed our lives. One of the alums of the program became the first one from his high school in Bushwick, Brooklyn to go to an Ivy League school. For another alumna, the intellectual atmosphere of the program inspired her and better prepared her for college.

For me, SJP transformed me from a timid girl to a more confident person. They not only helped me during the college application process, but also made me realize my potential and I was no longer afraid to assert myself. When I had problems, I was able to e-mail or talk to them on the phone and they were always so encouraging and supportive.

While many of us are still pursuing journalism careers, when asked about how many of us have actually decided to go into the field of journalism after college, some expressed hesitancy. This is partly because we're still in college, deciding what path we would like to take as we are exposed to many different kinds of fields and also because of the current state of the journalism industry and its unpredictability. But one thing I'm certain about is our passion for journalism will remain the same and the difference the counselors have made on every single student of the program will be everlasting.

-- Fang is a freshman at Georgetown University and participated in the program in the summer of 2008.

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