Day 1: Gummy Worms and Miracles

Photo by Tori Gatling

Photo by Tori Gatling

A personal column by Samantha Rabino. Read her other entries here.

I was not thinking about boarding an airplane when I stuffed my carry-on size suitcase and backpack into the back of my mom’s car. I was not going out to an airport, but to a multimedia camp I had applied for in April, received a few emails about what to pack and when to show up and who was coming, etc. I didn’t know exactly WHAT we were doing. Miles from home, forced to travel with and interact with strangers, experiencing and learning all kinds of new things, as an introvert, I might as well be on a safari in a different country.

I heard about the multimedia camp at UNT in an email from my yearbook teacher. If I’m being honest, I applied because the words “all expenses paid” jumped out at me, and I figured I wouldn’t have much to do this summer anyhow. My english teacher (bless her) and I pored over my cover letter that I was to send to try to get in. When I found out I got in, I was excited, but there was always a hint of trepidation: would I be able to stand up to the other kids there? The feeling was like the sour dust coating a sweet gummy candy. You get to the good stuff eventually, but the sour can still linger faintly in back of your mouth.

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And I might as well have been eating an entire bag of sour gummy worms when my mom and I got to the hotel (where the first part of the camp was being held).

We were to attend a literary conference for journalists, authors, writers, and readers alike. I picked up my badge, shook hands with David Tracy, the workshop director, and unpacked in the hotel room.

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My roommate and good friend Sara met with me in the room, and after realizing the time, rushed down to the meeting room for all the multimedia camp attendees.

We received stares from the students, green UNT t-shirts that were a tad too big, and a mutual look with each other when two other girls arrived that silently said “at least we’re not the last ones.” Dave briefly went over how things would work: weekend at the conference, UNT campus until Thursday, and Emily, a camp counselor and journalism teacher at Sunnyvale ISD, talked to us about live tweeting and using social media (here I am with my first real blog). We as the student attendees also introduced ourselves to each other. It seemed to go on forever, but that should be expected when experiencing new things! Dave claimed we were the top student journalists in the state, and that they had to filter through a lot of kids in selecting us. I couldn’t and still can’t believe it. Who am I, a yearbook girl amongst newspaper editors and broadcast news award winners to be here? It must be good luck, I can only marvel at being here.

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Later on in the day, we attended a dinner in a place that was so western aesthetic I had to remind myself that I lived in the state of Texas. All camp attendees were asked to wear the tad-too-big shirts so we could look cohesive in a group photo.

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I settled down with a group of the attendees, and Dave got the conversation ball rolling very quickly. I particularly enjoyed the company of fellow attendees Izzie, Kristen, and Eric. We talked about places we wanted to visit and our opinions the different kinds of milk while chomping down on fajitas and peach cobbler. It was, in a word, astounding to me.

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Who knew making friends could be so easy? (Sara and I -both introverts- even went to go talk to Izzie and Kristen later in their room! On the first day we met them! I’m amazed!)

During the dinner, the Dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism called for us to applaud and at times… “yeehaw” a list of people who were important to the conference. The camp attendees were even called up to go and shake her hand. It was all very glamorous, if you can call something like a western banquet dinner glamorous.

We then returned to the hotel room.

I made chamomile tea using water bottle water in the hotel’s coffee maker. I set the coffee maker to pour one cup of boiling water, but filled the water line up to the two cups line. It wasn’t until Sara pointed it out that I knew the cup was about to overflow. The maker dripped each drop of hot water into the cup, one by one, as the water in the cup threatened to flow over and create an annoying mess. Miraculously, the water stopped, forming a perfect dome- nearly over the edge of the cup, yet somehow still contained.

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It reminded me of all the other miracles that had happened: being accepted in, being called “the best of the best” in student journalism, making friends almost effortlessly, it was almost too much to take in. I could have overflowed like my cup of chamomile tea. And it was only the first day! What more could happen in the next 6 days?

I apologize if the length is too long for what a blog post is supposed to be. There’s so much I want to write here so I can look back on later; there’s so much I feel like I’m cutting on even in this one post. (Not to mention it’s day 3!) I’ll ask Emily tomorrow what’s the appropriate blog post length.

SamRabino

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