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Day 72

Some days are days of firsts. Today is May 28.

Apparently my body likes to sleep for 11 hours straight, even when my schedule and I have other plans. Much to my disappointment, I didn’t end up getting out of bed until nearly 11 a.m., which greatly threw a wrench in my plan to go and renew my driver’s license as soon as I got up. I’d intended to finish that chore this week, but because it’s close to the end of the month, now I’m thinking I might as well wait until next week so as to avoid the rush of people who have put off similarly timed tasks.

I checked my email once I’d gotten out of bed and tossed on clothing. I’d hoped to see a response from at least one of my two former Spanish teachers, but I had no such luck. Instead, I got asked to help with a top secret project, which I can’t discuss until tomorrow at the earliest. I was happy to oblige, and I hope my contribution will brighten a certain person’s day.

Apparently my body likes to sleep for 11 hours straight, even when my schedule and I have other plans.”

For about an hour or so, I read through a long list of University of Missouri ― Columbia (MU) journalism faculty members so I could be prepared to discuss my Discovery Fellows mentorship opportunity with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies with the Missouri School of Journalism, Lyda Kraxberger, when we spoke on the phone at 1:30 p.m. I narrowed down the list of mentors by eliminating ones whose interests and focus areas didn’t align with mine, and I prioritized several people whose work I was most passionate about. I ended up narrowing my top four potential mentors down to Associate Professor Amanda Hinnant, Faculty Group Chair Yong Volz, Associate Professor Ron Stodghill and Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies Kathy Keily. In all reality, I only knew as much about each of these people as their brief descriptions offered, so accurately ranking any one person over another was a relative shot in the dark.

I had about half an hour between when I finished reading the mentors’ descriptions and when my phone call was, so I ended up nervously eating grapes and mindlessly watching half an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender to distract myself. When my phone eventually rang, I eagerly picked up. Associate Dean Kraxberger and I spoke for about half an hour covering everything from the current coronavirus pandemic and the strange end to the school year to what being a Discovery Fellow means and what opportunities I’ll have at MU. She outlined the two basic options I had: hands on work and research. As interesting as working directly with a news outlet sounded, I felt as if that had basically been what I’ve done these past three years. I opted instead to try following the research path, which worked out spectacularly because, as it turned out, Associate Professor Hinnant had specifically requested a Discovery Fellow to work with her this year.

“As interesting as working directly with a news outlet sounded, I felt as if that had basically been what I’ve done these past three years. I opted instead to try following the research path, which worked out spectacularly because, as it turned out, Associate Professor Hinnant had specifically requested a Discovery Fellow to work with her this year.”

I am extremely excited to explore this new opportunity and learn as much as I can from my mentor. Even though I’m not sure what exactly my work will entail, and I’m not positive yet that Associate Professor Hinnant will agree to have me as a mentee, I’m optimistic I will grow as a student, journalist and person because of this experience. If all goes well, ideally I’d love to start working during the summer. Because of the pandemic there isn’t much I can do, and I’ve never been one to do well with extensive amounts of free time. 

When the call ended, I left feeling elated. I texted my parents and let them know the news. Once they got home, I told them both about the call and gave them a veritable play-by-play of our conversation. I ended up talking to my dad while we wiped down groceries, and I spoke with my mom as we drove up to my grandpa’s house to pick up a pie we’d accidentally left there. For much of the rest of my evening, I watched episodes of Katy Keene. It probably wasn’t the most productive use of my time, but a little fluff television from time to time isn’t so terrible. 

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”

Bram Stoker

Tomorrow I’m hoping the weather is a little less rainy so I can go for a walk or at least be outside without getting soaked. I’ve also let my room fall into disarray, so I’ll probably end up cleaning it up along with my bathroom. I have a terrible habit of going for long periods of not reading and then reading four books back to back, so I’m going to try to start a new book in the near future. I’m always open to recommendations, especially if the novel is thought provoking and engaging. 

“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.” ― Bram Stoker

How did you spend your 72nd day of social distancing? Let us know in the comments below.

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