Saturday, July 31, 2010

College Admissions Advice

SJP '10 students Maria Paredes, Franklin Lee and Alfonso Toro gather in the common room.
By Alfonso Toro Jr. (Bell Gardens, CA)

In the midst of all confusion, frustration, curiosity, and wonder about the whole college application process, which is the group on which you can always depend on? The Princeton Summer Journalism Program!

One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that you have someone there to comfort and answer some of the hundreds of questions one may have.

At SJP, each participant is put into newspaper teams that are categorized as The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and my own, The New York Times. Every student can easily relate to each other’s experiences since all of the students are all going through the same college application process and search. When I first found out about this program, the three facts that intrigued me the most were first, that it was about journalism. Second, that it was held at my dream university and third, it was all expense-paid! There is no better combination or deal that I can imagine.

The program is scheduled for ten days, but the beauty about it all, as I was informed today, is the fact that the counselors actually stay and help you out throughout the whole college admissions process. It's barely day two and it passed in a flash, I just cannot wait to see what exciting new things we are going to learn next. SJP is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The World of Ideas

By Patricia Gutierrez (Santa Maria, Calif.)

I am amongst intellectuals -- a realization that finally planted its seed in my mind during today's first workshop, "What is Journalism?" By Richard Just '01 (SJP director and managing editor of The New Republic). I was filled with the sort of happiness that can only be properly compared to the happiness that one might feel when reuniting with a far-flung relative. A feeling of comfort, expectation, of ultimate satisfaction.

Although we had, in a discussion on the first night, established what it meant to be an intellectual, among other things and throughout earlier discussions that have taken place. I found myself taken aback in a profound way by what the other participants had to say and it hadn't registered what a rare opportunity for me this was to be among such intelligent people.

Even on the first night of discussions, while some people, including me, were hesitant about participating in the discussion, many students set a standard for a level of understanding for the discussion. As Richard explained, we don't want to be tolerant of each other, we want to be respectful. It's important to challenge each other during the program so that it's an intellectually stimulating experience for everyone.

Morning Walk to the Friend Center Newsroom

Video Clip: Students walk from the Scully Hall Dormitories to the Friend Center every morning.

Seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the First Time

SJP '10 students from California are brought to campus by counselor Melisa Gao '06 (far left) 

By Franklin Lee (Los Angeles, CA)

Today I was honored to be given a chance to see the Atlantic Ocean through the window of a Continental Airlines airplane for the very first time.

The tiring yet exciting ride to Princeton University seemed to symbolically foreshadow the ten days I would spend in the journalism program. My first day here only confirms my prediction. As other students from New York and Maryland trickled into the room, we were able to discuss the wonderful articles we had read in advance for the program.

"My favorite articles were on the medical doctors," I confided.

"Yeah! And I also liked articles based off of a picture online. I thought the writing style was very unique," Yared Portillo, another student from California, said.

Our conversations between lunch and dinner strengthened our bond and by the time we went on to the  college tour and our first journalism workshop, I knew that the next ten days would be a wonderful experience that I will remember for a very long time. Though I have high expectations for the program, I am sure they will not only fulfilled but also exceeded.

A Fun Start to SJP Summer 2010

Firestone Library at Princeton University, the world's largest open-stack library. 
By Antonio Regulier (Roosevelt, NY)

Wow. I can't believe I made it to Princeton. This is a dream come true. The campus itself is beautiful, large and definitely welcoming. The food is, umm, we'll just cover that another time. The counselors are great. Their personalities, character, just everything about them is just awesome.

Before we left for dinner, a group of students, counselors and I played, "Zoom, Miglafigleano", which sounds strange but was a lot of fun and a nice balance to the serious parts of the program (which are also fun). During our group discussion tonight, we covered heavy topics such as why diversity in the newspaper makes a difference. Richard played the side of "devil's advocate" during most of the discussion and we realized that there was a purpose to the existence of the program. He brought us back to our starting point and challenged us to think about whether a news reporter can completely set aside their bias and be objective.

When I looked at the schedule today, I thought "Wow, this is intense." But I'm ready for whatever challenges the program may bring and the reason why is because I have the support of a newly found family.

Friday, July 30, 2010

First Day Nerves

Chancellor Green at Princeton was the University's first official library when it opened in 1875. 
By Maria Paredes (Gaithersburg, MD)

Waking up this morning was like every other morning -- the feeling has not hit me yet.

I sort of know what's waiting for me: PRINCETON, ten days of journalism.

7:50AM hits, 8:00AM kicks in.

Knowing that my train leaves for D.C. in ten minutes, I hurry to catch the 8:10AM train with my bags packed, sitting in my seat, reading the paper.

At that moment I felt independent, a grown-up, if you wish. As the clock ticks I head towards my train -- would I miss it? Did I come too early? Do I really have to finish reading the assigned articles I haven't finished yet on the train ... ? As I get on the train my mind races.

I am actually on my own, actually leaving for Princeton. As I hear Trenton's stop being called, my heart stops. I had arrived in New Jersey and was going to Princeton. I felt it in the pit of my stomach and I'm still nervous as I write this blog post.

It's not a dream, it's reality.

Welcome to SJP 2010 Online!

Every summer, we make an effort to significantly increase the amount of time we spend teaching new media to better equip them for the real world. This summer, in addition to updating this blog several times a day, we're having the students use Twitter (@PrincetonSJP) which is linked to our Facebook Page (where we have more than 140 characters to expand on what went on during sessions, etc.) and new this year -- we've created a Tumblr Page (we're trying to make everyone aware of how hipster SJP is). :)

Follow us this week and hope you enjoy the ride!

LINK: Meet the SJP 2010 Students.