The beginning of the end as NSLC comes to a close

For three years, NSLC has been my life.

For the past summer, professional newswriting has worked its way into that life, as I’ve had to privilege to work with three inredibly talented professionals in guiding the talents and aspirations of dozens of students. Professional newswriting is not an earned skill; it’s a learned one and a road long-traveled. For many of the students who have passed through the halls of American University and UC-Berkeley, that road has not only become a little clearer but hopefully a little smoother as well.

No journalist fresh out of college will walk into their dream job, but in our age of digital revolution, the in-roads made are of our own volition. If these students wish to be successful, then that is exactly what they will be. I have no doubt that in 10 years some of our students will be regarded as one of the greats in journalism, and I’m honored to have had even a modicum of impact on that.

As for my journey after NSLC, the road is fairly un-defined, I hate to say. Earning a master’s degree has been one of my crowning achievements in life, working diligently on a specific endeavor for well over a year in pursuit of higher knowledge and personal betterment. Its influences have been long-lasting and the work ethic I garnered during that time will continue to influence the way I tackle challenges in the future.

But that is not what will define me.

This may err on the side of cheesiness, but Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins contains a quite profound nugget of wisdom: “It’s not what I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” No matter what titles we attain or awards we achieve, it’s what we do with the knowledge we’ve earned and the work we’ve accumulated that makes us who we are.

In journalism, it’s not the degree that gets you the job. It’s the people you know and the talent you reserve in place for your craft. Woodward and Bernstein did not break Watergate because they were lucky.

They did so because they were driven.

The students I’ve met and worked with this summer (and in summers’ past) are among some of the most dedicated and driven individuals I’ve ever met. Every summer I am inspired by their unique vision of the world and their boundless ambition to make a change for the better within it. NSLC may not be a fixture of my summers in the days to come, but where I may be missing out on programming I’ll be gaining the knowledge that the program will continue to foster great leaders and inspired minds.

The work that I’ve been lucky to take part in for the past three years has shaped me in ways I cannot begin to explain here. All I know is that while I may not be a fixture of the program, the students I’ve helped foster and that future staffs will continue to foster will be forever changed by their experiences here.

For three years, NSLC has been a part of my life, and after all of the people I’ve been honored to meet and the inspiration I’ve garnered from a multitude of students, I can humbly move forward and say goodbye.