Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prelude to the Journey

The stream of humanity flowed past me as I enjoyed my succulent slice of sausage pizza from Geno's, one of the Central Mall's restaurants in its modest food court. Since this is Fort Smith, Arkansas, the stream of humanity trickles rather than flows. Now, a real flowing stream of humanity will be seen when I go to board my first Metro here in a mere two weeks. Thanks to the Washington Center, I will be working on video editing as an intern for Voice of America.

Right now, I'm still a face in the crowd, like the stream of humanity that walks by. Admittedly, my face has become a little more conspicuous because the hometown newspaper printed a story straight from my college's public relations department about my internship through the Washington Center.

Landing this Washington Center internship accelerated my life. Within the past two months, I've taken my last finals ever at Rogers State University. I moved out of my one bedroom house that was my "Fortress of Solitude" for three years. I worked my last shift for my college TV station's master control. I hosted my final radio show in studio (I'll still be broadcasting from Washington DC). I bid adieu to my friends at Rogers State University. These were experiences I was to have in six months since I graduate in May 2011. Instead, all of the finality of May swooped in early on Santa Claus' sleigh.

I also feel this internship with Voice of America is going to accelerate my development by more than just six months. I feel like I've shaved five to ten years off of my ultimate goal of becoming a radio talk show host. I know what you're thinking: how does a video editing internship parlay into experience in radio. And I'll tell you exactly what I told one of my college's deans in the interview process that swung their votes to me as their representative to Washington: today's media is all about convergence. With the advent of the internet, newspaper websites have video content; TV websites have written text. Radio websites have pictures. Magazine websites have podcasts. In this age of convergence, being versatile in any media will help land you a job in any medium that you choose because A) you're harder to downsize and B) you're harder to refuse. That's how toggling over hue settings on dubbed over video packages for Voice of America is going to ultimately help me sit behind a microphone five days a week.

The opportunity before me is exciting, but I must confess it has knocked my goal off of its axis. Before this internship, I thought the region of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas was open to me and I would have to work my way up. Now, because of this internship, I feel like the whole world is open to me. In American football, on a kickoff return, all it takes is one key block to spring the returner for a touchdown run. The Washington Center has thrown me a key block and it's up to me to spring this opportunity for a big return -- running to my ultimate goal for all to conspicuously see.

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