Reflections on Education and Adventure

As this is my first reflection there is much to say, especially in light of the fact that our travelling classroom managed to fit a week’s worth of adventure in a three day weekend.  Most of what I have to say can be summed up in a quote by Professor Hudson Berkley, “Question all assumptions, and good quotes on top.”

Though we were only gone for a short time, campus seemed foreign to me when our bus pulled up next to the Agriculture Building.  Everything was just as we had left it, but somehow I had changed through this experience of journalistic immersion.  Our lives consisted of eating, drinking and reporting, but mostly just reporting.  We slept very little and talked a great deal, and though our adventure could be described as grueling I enjoyed every minute, including the downpour we suffered through on the final day.

As I said on the bus, the most important thing I will be taking away from this trip is the lesson of keeping my eyes open, at all times.  Never before had I been confronted with so many varying, and sometimes competing, perspectives.  This may sound strange coming from a journalism student, but my time in this field has been relatively short.  Understanding the many different pieces of the puzzle, questioning my own assumptions as well as those of my sources, and not taking information at face value, are skills I’m still learning.

Conveying this puzzle through photography is proving to be even more challenging.  A photo story only allows for so many images, and in that space the photojournalist must describe the broad issues on a very intimate level an audience can connect with.

I’m grateful to farm journal for giving us this opportunity to venture out and test our abilities in a controlled, though at times frenzied, environment, and I’m grateful to all of the faculty for their seemingly endless knowledge and contagious enthusiasm.  At the end of the day, the experience we gained and the fascinating people we met made our lack of sleep, questionable coffee, and hand cramps all worth it.

– Katie Alaimo

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