I had the application deadline for this program on my calendar for a solid month. But two days before the application was due, I had writer’s block, and couldn’t force myself to write the application. Eventually, two hours before the deadline, I said I might as well take the shot, threw together an application, and threw it to the wind.

To put it mildly, I am so grateful that I did. Since I’ve never taken a traditional Communication class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In many ways, I expected to learn everything I needed throughout the week. This is precisely why I love hands-on learning: it is engaging and unforgiving. Because you only have a week, you better sink or swim.

However, I quickly had to unlearn some of my habits. For example, I spent far too long attempting to follow a video editing workflow; this severely hampered the progress of my audio story. That also bled into my written story, so I spent most of the week rushing to catch up.

Thankfully, my mentor helped narrow down my options, focus the audio narrative, and tell a compelling written piece. As she explained, “The best story is the one you tell; the best dissertation is a done one.” So while that lesson took me a while to learn and constantly pressed my week; it’s an invaluable lesson I hope changes future experiences.  

This would not be a proper reflection without giving the necessary shout outs.

To my mentor, and brain-twin, Dr. Jennifer Erdely, you were my sherpa this week. Thank you.

To my classmates, y’all rock. Keep shining your magic.

To the other mentors, production, and management. Thank you so much for dedicating your time and talents to us. You’ve planted seeds in my life and so many others.  

To Doug Mitchell, leaders like you change the world. Thank you.