Saturday, August 7, 2010

Friend 009

By Marion Smallwood (SJP '07 Alum/UPenn '12)

What happens when a group of people, people of different ages and backgrounds, from different countries and regions, with different styles and personalities, come together in a small intellectual space wedged within an even smaller time frame? For the past three years, this has been for me, the face of journalism. It is what diversity, growth and possibility look like. It is a change eager to be made, a promise to be kept, a world to discover and then rediscover. It is the Princeton Summer Journalism Program. 

My experience with SJP '10 has been exciting. The students never cease to amaze me. They are wide-eyed and ambitious; their minds so easily expand and explore the minds of others. I can't help but be inspired. Every summer is just another reminder that the fabrics of our thoughts and ideas are limitless; that being an intellectual attaches us to a network of phenomenal human beings.

Marin for example, is the coolest political reporter I will ever meet, I'm sure of it. Our conversations range from "cute skirt!" to world music, politics, pop culture and education.

The students are all amazing. I was so impressed to see the SJP '10 students diving in head-first, into their first experience with investigative reporting in New York City. They spoke to people (who were not very receptive) with a professionalism and maturity I respect and admire.

Another SJP counselor, Adrian, really impresses me. I feel like my IQ rises a few points every time we have a conversation. He is genuinely interested in what a person has to say and has something equally or more interesting to say in return. I have yet to meet people as knowlegable, passionate and well-rounded as Adrian, Richard and the rest of the senior SJP counselors. Every conversation is a lesson learned.

And so I'll ask again: what happens when a diverse group of amazing people come together to accomplish a common goal? Lives change. Bonds form. Experiences make art from the canvas of our memories. A group of students realize they have the potential to do the things they have only dreamed of. A question turns into a summer newspaper produced within the walls of Friend, room 009. How appropriate the name of the place we have worked and grown in these last few days of SJP '10.

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