The world around me rumbles, the floor unsteady as I walk down the aisle to the bathroom. The cabin is dark and I do not know what time it is, or where I am on Earth. I am on a plane headed to Greece, a country I have never been to in a continent I have never stepped foot on. I do not know what experiences it will bring me.
I am exploring unfamiliar waters, and that both frightens and excites me. I have always been able to predict how new things would impact me. I knew college would consist of less class time and more individual studying and projects. I knew adding data science to my field of study would expand my workload and force me to spend even more time behind a computer screen, typing nonsense. I knew going to Boston early to participate in a community service program with other first-years would introduce me to people who would become my closest friends. I always knew these details ahead of time, as if I were the scout of a boat, looking ahead through a telescope.
And yet, as I sit here on this plane that is already halfway to Greece, the path is foggy and the waves are sky-high. I have no clue what is coming my way.
On one hand, I have chosen not to form too much of a preemptive vision based on news I read ahead of time. Stories about conditions in refugee camps and the country’s economic crisis are fresh in my mind, but so are the images of rich history, incredible architecture and robust culture. I cannot wrap my mind around the coexistence of such suffering and so many triumphs within one nation. I am leaving that impression up to my senses during my time there.
On the other, I remain somewhat afraid of that which I do not know from these articles. What sentiment do Greeks hold toward Americans, especially now? What about refugees? How will walking the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki be different than walking those of Boston or Seattle?
Those fears inspire some of the work I hope to complete during my time abroad. I want to answer some of these questions from my unique perspective as a student journalist in the city, and I want to do so in a way that resonates with readers back home.
Just this morning, I was sipping a cup of lukewarm coffee while staring out at the ocean from the kitchen of a house in a small Massachusetts town. Now, I am flying head-on into the unknown.
But I am not facing it alone. Upon reading and hearing about my colleagues’ ideas, I am becoming increasingly excited that I get to spend this month working with a group of creative, talented and innovative individuals.
Their words have shocked me based on their value and quality. The topics they want to explore are fascinating, as is how they hope to do so. I feel that my journalistic talents will grow just by spending time around them. I am grateful they will be by my side as I explore the depths of that which I do not know.
So, let’s dive in.
This blog post also appeared on Northeastern University School of Journalism’s website, https://camd.northeastern.edu/journalism/