So, it begins.

20 05 2014

I love adventure. Ever since January 30th, 2013, I crave it on a daily basis. Something new. Something different. It drives my hopes and dreams. And on the 15th, I started a new IMG_4323adventure by moving to Atlanta. Since then, I’ve settled into my new apartment. It’s in a quaint gated community with plenty oIMG_4292f people sitting on their decks enjoying the cool weather until the heat consumes us.

I haven’t started my new job as an intern yet, but I am experiencing something new by living by myself. I have a pretty nice apartment, with a full kitchen, spacious living room, small deck and a very big bed to flail on. The feeling of being on my own is a lot like what I experienced walking the streets of Paris or Prague: in control and independent. Though arguably, those places had much nicer sites to see.

I am beyond excited to start working at CNN. I am slightly less enthused to begin driving there. Talking with the other interns reminds me I’m surrounded by just as [if not more] talented colleagues that I should try to help in any way I can while learning myself. So often young journalists are told that this is a cut-throat and competitive field. But as I am often reminded, while it may be competitive, I don’t think any true journalist got where they are by being cut-throat.

And if all else fails, I’m going to remember just how nice Anderson was. I adore that man. IMG_4370



14 04 2014

I’d be lying if I said that I rarely stress out about my future. I’m actually 5% water and 95% stress-induced panic. And one thing that has been especially pressing is the inevitable summer internships that young and competitive journalists vie for to round out their education. I was no exception. I was applying to all the major places I imagined myself: New 1377177_10201998566476494_803836019_nYork, Washington D.C., Atlanta. I could just hear the phone call that would uproot me from my Tennessee home and whisk me away to a place of big city news. And I waited. And waited. Waited some more.

Before long, spring break had come and I just knew that my phone call was coming.

Picture it: Monday of Spring Break. Out with my grandmother shopping. Look down and check my phone: missed call from Atlanta.

My heart dropped. I called the number back only to be directed to the CNN main hotline where they couldn’t direct me to whom had called. The rest of the break was spent in a sulk waiting for another call that did not come. And then more waiting occurred.

Flash forward to last Friday: prepping to do our sixth show of UT Today and sitting on the couch after just having a conversation with Dr. Swan about alternative places to apply for an internship. As the show went into commercial, I looked down to see my phone ringing with the caller ID: Atlanta, GA. I jumped up and ran out of the studio, waving one arm behind me and turning just enough to see Rilwan mouth “CNN?” and me nod.

It was the Newsroom calling and subsequently interviewing me via phone, causing me to pretty much freak that I had not prepared. The questions weren’t ridiculously difficult, to say the least. As she offered her three important traits, I tried to offer just as equally important answers that could shape her opinion of the kind of journalist I strived to be. [Three traits?: Proactive, Common Sense, Prioritize.] She then asked if I had any questions, which I subsequently offered two or three that popped off my head.

Then she said she had one last question for me. If I had the right answer, she would hire me on the spot. Oh, and by the way: only four interns in her seven years had ever gotten it 1381438_10201998566756501_467516068_nright.

I won’t offer the whole situation, but the gist was a scenario with multiple options where we had to offer an order to do them and why. Not surprisingly, I missed it and I instantly saw the “We’ll be in touch” speech quickly approaching. I tried to be personable and interactive, hoping she wouldn’t hang up without offering a time frame of me knowing.

She did me one better.

She offered me one of the eight Newsroom Intern positions. Although I had always imagined I would be professional and not get giddy – well, I got giddy.

“Oh my God! Really?!” was out of my mouth before I could help it and after a couple of very quick consultations, I accepted the job.

Knowing where I am going to be this summer [and even having an apartment already!] is such a relief. Atlanta is close enough to be almost convenient, and I’ll even have my car. I’m too excited already.

Visiting CNN back in October was one of the first slap-in-the-face moments I had in broadcast. I rocked my world seeing the huge Newsroom, the studios, the technology and people hard at work to keep the network on air literally 24 hours, 7 days a week. And now, I’ll be spending 40 hours a week in the summer helping make it all a reality.

Tot ziens.


9 04 2014

running shot 2Although it is safe to say that Utrecht is always on my mind, this past week has been especially prevalent with thoughts of stroopwafels, bikes and the Dutch. Every little thing seemed to be pointing for me to remember some minute detail of my time there, and luckily, today it hit me. While abroad, I would occasionally take runs [I use the word lightly] around my neighborhood of Tuindorp. My first time going out, I had no plan and just thought I would run as far as possible and hopefully maneuver my way back. The run would go past my student housing complex along the road I would bike to school until I would come to a bridge near a playground with a white bench [where I would rest if it were especially hot]. There, I would make a left and run along the road until I made another left at a brick wall only to run until I saw a mini park with a pond. At this point, I would only be about 15-20 minutes in my run, but the park was so pretty that I decided to sit in the grass. That first time there, I can remember laying back in the grass, a sweaty mess, listening to my music, smelling the fresh cool breeze and hear the unique sound of bikes on cobblestone all around me. I loved that little place I’m pretty sure was next to a church. I’m not sure why, but every time I would run I would take solace in knowing I would eventually take a break from the run and from the ever-coursing thoughts of terror at being in such a foreign place.
running spotToday, I decided to walk to the UC to get dinner. The sun had barely started to set; it was cool and the air smelled different. Clean, even. And while waiting for the light to change, I took a half-second to close my eyes, hearing a biker whish past me, my music playing in my headphones. Instantly, I was back in that park, so vividly as if I had literally run into a pole [which I promise you did happen while riding my bike a few times]. I was surprised that I wasn’t overwhelmed with a sense of sadness – but a feeling of just being at home. So much so that once I had my dinner and made it back to my apartment, I got on Google Maps and followed my old running path until I found the street view of the park, sunny and filled with liveliness.
I’m not sure what this feeling is yet. I honestly have no idea. So often I’ve been sad at being away from the Netherlands and from that life, but today I was happier. I smiled at the images in my head and instead of desperately clinging to them, I waved as they passed and inhaled deeply, still smelling the air.
I’ve applied to be a UT International Guide for the fall semester. Something similar to Erasmus, I assume, where we serve as tour guides, welcome leaders, and peer mentors to international students for the semester. I hope to get the job. Maybe my incessant need to talk about studying abroad can come in handy now!
Tot ziens.

March Madness: Episode One

7 03 2014

Okay, so doing the New York update was definitely wishful thinking! Of course, upon my return I was submerged in school work that has often gotten the best of me! That being said, New York was phenomenal. Although I won’t dive into my usual ‘step-by-step’ layout, the brief overview will be just as sufficient.

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Me and Times Square IMG_2108 IMG_2222

While there we had the opportunity to meet [literally] some of the best in the business, including Gayle King and [drumroll!] ANDERSON COOPER, who is safe to say the nicest human being on the planet. I touched his hair.IMG_2306

You read that right.

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We saw all the major networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN. I also got to see my dream school, Columbia! And talk with a graduate school adviser [Eek!]. I hung out with some of my favorite people and got to know quite a few better while there. Overall, one of the most memorable experiences thus far! [Study abroad still holds the number one spot, never fear.]

And now?

Spring break is fastly approaching and I am instantly reminded that last year over spring break, I was backpacking in Italy.

me and trevi basilica view two its leaning church of Florence

This spring break?

Greeneville, Tennessee. It doesn’t sound as pleasant, I’m afraid. Not to mention that March is pretty much the definitive month that decides what I am going to be doing this summer and that TERRIFIES me. I just hate playing the waiting game. Other than that?

Filming, interviewing, making packages. Living the dream, I suppose.

More to come in the future when my life becomes more interesting! But for now, tot ziens!

Look Out, World!

12 01 2014

It’s so strange to think that this time last year, I was packing my bags, finishing paperwork and about to embark on one of the most rewarding and stressful trips of my life. It feels like only yesterday that I boarded the plane in Atlanta [after MUCH turmoil] and IMG_0124landed in my second home of the Netherlands. It’s been nearly seven months since I came back and I still find myself missing Europe and all its majesty  from time to time!

If there is one thing that is true, I am very glad to be back in Knoxville [and UT] studying my favorite subject surrounded by people who are just as in love and obsessed as I am!

On that note, internship season has graced everyone with its presence in the JEM department. The past few weeks have been filled with resumes, cover letters and applications. There’s no telling where I’ll end up this summer: New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Washington D.C., Atlanta… wherever I am, I am looking forward to a summer filled with knowledge, tons of work and hopefully passionate people!

Now the most pressing of the news…NEW YORK CITY. Yes! In only eight days, I’ll be boarding the plane with 20 other JEM IMG_0197students and [of course] Dr. Swan to spend a week in arguably one of the most exciting cities in the world! That being said, I have seen the other big-name cities in Europe, so I am hoping that the city is just as dreamy and awe-inspiring as it was three years ago. [I might have shed a tear or two.]

While there, we’re planning on doing a multitude of things [CNN with Anderson Cooper, Daily Show, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, NY 1, and…WICKED]. My hope is that I’ll get to do an update just like old times! I know this is going to be an amazing trip and I can only home it lives up to my expectations.

For now, I’m slowly packing a carry-on and trying to start the semester right in my interesting classes. I’ll update soon, but until then, tot ziens!

Giving Thanks

17 11 2013

Lately, I’ve been finding it really hard to find things I’m thankful for.

basilica view twoI don’t know why this has always been an issue for me, but in really hard times, it seems that only the negative things come to mind when I think about how my life is going as opposed as to the [arguably] many more good things that I have going on.

These past two weeks have been no different. Anything that could have gone wrong did. From camera concerns to friend fights and a whole lot of hurtful comments in between, it’s been hard for me to find the good in my life and in myself.

Tonight, I was walking home from re-editing a project. It had been raining so [obviously] I had my rain jacket on. I was listening to music trying to be happy. Once I got back to my apartment, I got on the elevator and looked down, only to see the tiny rip in the sleeve of my [very expensive] rain jacket. For half a second, I got so mad at not anyone in particular about that tiny rip.

That is until I remembered how I got it.

Picture it: March 2013. It is a rainy, humid day in Rome and I am backpacking for the first time to see the sites. I’m enthralled, to say the least. I get onto the escalator to take me down to the subway …and my jacket gets caught in the escalator. Bad luck, especially since it was my first time wearing it. 10 news hH

I got the rip in Rome. In Italy. And then I realized how lucky I am.

It isn’t just because I’ve gotten to travel around. Even though that is amazing experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world, I have something much more valuable.


I am so passionate about journalism. I love it. I can’t picture myself doing anything else like it and enjoying myself for the rest of my life. I love taking a camera, a mic and a tripod, going out and telling people’s stories. Doing stand-ups. Shooting b-roll. I love it. I am so blessed to have something that I am so passionate about that it can make the rest of the world seem not as important. As evident by today, since I spent the entire day in Target coming up with ideas and filming stand-ups with Evan at WBIR.
I’m going to try and remember that through the next couple of weeks that will probably be just as stressful.

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of

22 09 2013

Hello all! I’m afraid that as of late, my life has not been near as exciting as in previous posts. Everything is a constant churn between WBIR, class, TAH and the little sleep I get in between. It’s safe to say that everything has slowly but surely fallen back to normal, even though I am anything but!

Uhm, Trader Joe's has stroopwafels!!!

Trader Joe’s has stroopwafels!!!

There is another adventure that is slowly creeping up on me, however. In a crazy turn of events, I am officially going to New York City in January with 28 of my UT journalism peers! This trip is an AMAZING opportunity because with Dr. Swan at the helm, we get to explore ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, NY 1, CNN, Food Network, a Broadway show [one of my favs!], the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a ton of other amazing things! Although it is very, very expensive, it’s a great opportunity to network with both UT and non-UT alumni. I’m really looking forward to go back to NYC not only as a tourist but as a prospective journalist exploring one of the top three markets!

But that is a long ways off and for now all I’m focusing on it succeeding and impressing people through my internship at WBIR, creating quality packages for JEM 411 and passing economics [which I probably won’t do if I keep getting distracted with blog updates.]

Hopefully, there will be some blog-worthy news in the near future!

Tot ziens!