— Micheal Edmonds
I am excited to get to know the other campers. I'm ready to get stared learning more about journalism and the sessions that Robby has planned for us. Everybody is so nice and enthusiastic about being here already. I can't wait to work with everyone this week.
My first day at USM was altogether confusing, awkward, and exciting. I arrived at approximately 4 p.m. and had no idea where I was supposed to go. But my mom called Dr. Byrd, and I got settled into my room. I investigated all the nooks and crannies of my room (especially my huge shower) and loaded my refrigerator with snacks even though they are providing us with snacks throughout the week. Then came the awkward part. I made my way back to the common area and waited for everyone to arrive. Being the first one to arrive, it was a while before anyone else showed up. Gradually, however, all of the participants showed up, and we all made our way to where we were to eat dinner. We got there and had to wait for our food to be delivered. That took about 30 minutes, but it gave everyone an opportunity to get acquainted. We ate and migrated back to the common area of the dorm. Dr. Byrd gave us our first assignment: come up with a team name and create a logo. My team consists of my roommate, AJ, RaShunda, Jake, and myself (aka WOAH). Our logo looks as if it were put together by a third grader. I'm looking forward to this week, and cannot wait to make lasting friendships.
— Will Corley
As I pull out of the driveway of my house, I sit back in the car and prepare myself for a week of learning and fun. Meanwhile my parents are arguing in front because we are five minutes from being late, as usual. Pulling up to USM, I see hordes of kids from show choir and I realize just how many people are here this week. I'm in concert choir at my school and I've gained a love for music so I hope to see a Pitch Perfect style, spontaneous harmony battles throughout the week. After going into a few of the wrong buildings, i finally found the building where the journalism camp were meeting up at. Approaching the room I was pleased to see a group of several diverse people and just from looking at them I could see that there would be lots of creative projects made over the course of the camp. Afterwards we went to eat dinner and even though there was an hour long wait it was a great opportunity to get to know some of the people and their parents. Afterwords, I went back to the room where we met up at and was placed in team WOAH, a team that will crush any competition that may arise this week.
— AJ McGee
Well, my first day at USM started early. We headed out for Southern Miss at noon because my mom argued me down that the dinner was at 4, but we had to be up here at 3:30 because my dad is always late. So we're on the highway and the second coming of Hurricane Katrina comes down on top of us. My sister is driving and we see nothing but tiny yellow dots in the middle of the road. Finally, we get to Hattiesburg, it's 2 p.m., the rain has stopped, and we realize that we are 3 hours early! So we go to the mall and stay there to 5:10. After showing up two hours early, we still almost end up being late. But we get there on time, and I'm starving. Then the director announces the food is late, and we have to introduce ourselves and me being shy am scared to death. So I'm hungry, scared, nervous, and am about to be alone with s bunch of strangers. But as soon as my dad and sister leaves, two girls greet me and have me dying laughing. So despite the horrible come up, now that I'm here I am glad I came. So in the end it all worked out.
— Josh Walton
After a long and tiring four-hour drive that felt like it would never end, seeing green highway signs of "Hattiesburg 5," I began to shake off how tired I was and the excitement came over me.
Getting to our check-in spot was an adventure one could say. It was difficult and finally we restored to asking the campus police officer. After following her, we realized we never would've found that on our own.
I was nervous at first-that's normal for me-but I knew the Lord guided me here. After applying last year and being disappointed, I now realized I needed this past year to improve.
Walking into where we were eating, I was thinking, "Who should I talk to first?" I find an empty chair across from a girl named Kassidy. I find it pretty neat that the first person I meet is my roommate. Conversation has been so easy with all other 15 teens here.
I'm excited but nervous for what my team's assignment holds for me tomorrow. Robby explained that we'd need a writer, broadcaster, videographer and a photographer. My head automatically thinks, "Well I could easily do writing, I'm good at that. But I need to learn all three other jobs too."
This week is likely to be overwhelming for me, but I know it'll be so worth it in the end when I take away so much more than I even realize.
— Peyton Neal
Starting at the very beginning, the Southern Miss campus immediately captivated my attention. Of course I got a good look at it, since we basically gave ourselves a tour searching for registration. Opening dinner was delayed a while, and as soon as I was through eating my mom had to leave . The drive back home was two hours . I hated that she was almost the first parent to leave because I didn't want to be left alone . But workshops are all about meeting new people is what she told me and left me right there ... all alone. It wasn't long until I was invited to a table. Sitting at that table and laughing is where my enjoyment starts. Now all of the other camps I've attended always started off rough and didn't get better until the last few days. And I prepared myself for the same with this one, but it was totally not what I expected. The evening was entertaining and I can't wait to see what tomorrow holds. *smiley face emoji*
— Mallory Greer
My first day here at USM was amazing. Upon arrival, I wandered around with my dad and messed with majestic pieces of art (an oddly rusted horn that my father screamed my name into, check it out on my insta @bassidykiss) Then after unpacking, we checked in with the always witty and charming King Robster aka the Rob Dawg. I met my roomie/vending machine finder Peyton and we hit it off great. I connected with several others very quickly and we kinda had a squad going. #linglingforever I was super stoked. Dinner was a tad late but I'm always pretty chill about food so that's rad. I don't mind. After that, Dr. Rob put us in our journalism groups. I became fast friends with my fellow Nüdlezzz (Noodles) and we made an awesome poster that I was very proud of. The first night/day at USM has been wonderful!
— Kassidy Biss
On day one, I came into this camp nervous, with no prior experience of journalism or writing professionally, and without matching bedding. However, tomorrow I will be slightly less nervous, still have no prior experience, and still have yellow checkered sheets with white striped blankets. I was pleasantly surprised with the campers as a whole. They all seem quite funny, sarcastic, and excited. Dr. Byrd seemed more like a soccer mom than a professor with his extensive collection of arts and crafts materials, but still a cool soccer mom nonetheless. As someone without a journalism class of any sorts at my high school, I'm quite excited about the lectures and lessons on the different angles of journalism. I feel as though they will prove to be quite useful considering it is my intended major. We spent a good bit of the night working on teams (#flexiblewhenboiled) and enjoyed the sense of competition. My group definitely had the most flamboyant of all the posters and sorta went above the definition of “logo” and went more into the territory of "piece of art," not bragging or anything. I'm excited for the rest of the week, not so much the fact that we have to wake up at like 7 a.m., but as a whole it seems like it will be the highlight of my summer.
— Alec Ashby
At 6 a.m. I wake up and roll out of bed and start my day off with a high-in-carb meal. After I eat I head towards the gym to get my daily "bang and clang" in, I go back home to shower and get changed. After I'm changed, I go to church and head back home to get one final check up on my supplies for the coming week. At 11 a.m., I get in the car with my parents and we begin the trip down to Hattiesburg. We spend five hours straight in that car listening to stand up comedy and finally arrive. We come into housing and I get my dorm key and meet Robby, and he tells us when dinner is. I get settled into my dorm and meet my roommate Alec, who seems like he's a pretty cool guy. We go eat a little later and I say goodbye to my parents before the group heads back to the main building. I'm put into a group and we come up with the name team W.O.A.H. based on the initials of where we're from and then we all separate to work on our first blog posts, which brings us to present time and leaves me without anything else to write about.
— Jake Frederick
Yo, my first time at this camp was awesome! These people are alien to me but it's a good group. Man these kids are so chill. I like the dorms. This experience reminded me of a movie I watched about this girl who went to the alien school but then everyone died so hopefully we don't die because that wouldn't have been cool. I need life. Who doesn't? But I met some cool people and the advisors are great. This dude didn't know how.many legs a spider had.
— Charlie Robinson
Seven in the morning comes slowly with excruciating pain when you're excited; that's what I endured as I went through my mom's checklist for the third time this morning. After having breakfast with my grandparents and dropping off our dog, we were on our way. Falling asleep twenty minutes in, I was woken by Jake sending, in multiple messages, that he was on his way and excited. Around noon, we got to Walmart and filled the basket up with random snacks before heading to find my parents a hotel. We had lunch about two hours later, went back to the hotel to get the food, and arrived at the campus to sign in. After meeting some of the others, we had a dinner consisting of American classics, such as hot dogs and barbecue chips. As the parents departed, we made our way to the common room and began "smarts and crafts" with our assigned groups. After we finished making our team posters, we were allowed free time. Morgan, another student that I became close to the week prior to the workshop, and I asked our roommates if it was okay for one of them to switch rooms with us, and once everything was settled, Kielee came in our room to sit down and begin blogging with us. Laughing and sharing background stories, it was eventually time for lights out, so Kielee headed to her room as Morgan and I got into bed, pumped for the upcoming week.
— Destiny Thompson
Today was the first day of our journalism workshop. I spent most of the morning doing last minute packing and stressing over forgetting things. Finally it was time to hit the road. My family loaded up and drove an hour to get here. Upon arrival, I excitedly unpacked my suitcases out of the car and ran to meet Destiny, who I had been conversing with in the days previous via twitter. My family and I got slightly lost looking for registration, and I found myself in line for a music camp. Once I found out where I was supposed to be, I unload my suitcases and headed to the common room. After all the students had arrived, we went to dinner. We waited a little while for our meal to come, but that turned into a positive thing. While waiting I was able to chat with the people sitting around me, and I found I had a lot in common with them. We conversed for a while until the food came, and once it arrived we dug right in. When dinner ended, we said goodbye to our parents and returned to the common room. We were then separated into our "teams" to create our name and logo that will represent us throughout the week. My team, which consisted of Peyton, Destiny, Josh, and me, named ourselves the PDMJ. Once our signs were completed and we talked about them, we were free to do whatever we wanted. Destiny and I headed to our rooms to ask our roommates if it would be alright to switch. We have so much in common and thought it would be amazing to room together. Once our roommates agreed, I moved into Destiny's room. After Destiny and I finished unpacking my things, Kielee came to our room and we wrote our blog post. Ten O'clock came too fast and it was time for Kielee to go back to her room. Destiny and I climbed into bed and told stories until we were ready to fall alseep. I enjoyed my first day at the workshop, and I can't wait to experience the rest of the week.
— Morgan Badurak
Today was my first day at the Hurricane Katrina Workshop at Southern Miss. It started off rough because my mother and I couldn’t figure out where to check in. It was extremely hot outside and my feet hurt. We even got mixed up with the show choir registration! We eventually found someone who directed us to the check-in. When we got to my room my roommate, Kielee, was already there. Kielee is really awesome and very friendly. Lunch was an hour late, and I was really hungry but this gave everyone time to mingle. By the time lunch got here, I was starving because I didn’t eat lunch. The food was really good; we ate burgers and hot dogs. My roommate Kielee is also in my group for the week where she came up with the cool name of the Photastic 4, like the Fantastic 4 but photography inspired (ha ha). My group seems really laid back, and I think we will work well together. We all have a different part of journalism we want to work on, which made it easier to assign jobs. Personally, I like to write. The first day has been wonderful, and it has made me excited about what we’ll do the rest of the week!
— Asia Harden
The waking up has to be the hardest part of the day right? I mean who wants to wake up on a Sunday morning to pack? I can hear my mothers voice in the back of my head condemning me for not packing sooner. Anyway, when the alarm went off this morning I had to physically stop myself from binge watching the new season of Orange Is the New Black.
After the mental and physical fight, I went and packed my life for the next week into a tiny duffle bag. Once I was packed and ready to go, my parents and myself loaded the car for our forty-five minute journey to campus. After a tortuous journey filled with the 80’s best hits, I finally arrived to the campus.
When I walked into the roomed I assumed the workshop was going to be held in, I was greeted by a maybe too excited worker. Do not worry the excitement in his voiced dropped partially when he discovered that I was not, in fact, there for his camp. Finally after a point in the right direction I made it to Century Park North, the correct building.
With excitement filled to the top, I checked in and made my way to my home for the next week. The room was exactly as I imagined it, with two beds, two closets, and a bathroom. I got to meet my roommate, who’s name I am completely in love with, Asia. Once we were all settled and comfy in our rooms, we went to go get the food.
The food was the basics: burgers and hot dogs. I am not going to complain though, because with the rush of the day I forgot to eat completely. They could have put any meal in front of me, and I would’ve ate it in a record breaking time. After we ate and I wished my not so teary eyed parents goodbye,we went and made our groups for the week. The group situation worked better than I thought.
When I got into everyone knew what they wanted to do and there were no arguments over it. I got the great choice of being the spokes personal for our group, which was exactly what I wanted to do. We made our designs for our group, then watched a documentary on Katrina. Once I went back to my room, I decided to go mingle with Morgan and Destiny. We spent the majority of the night talking about every thing, from our friends back at home to our political views. Once the signal for lights out came on, I settled in my room.
Asia and I spent the night working on our articles and talking about music. Day one, although short, was a success.
— Kielee Clement
Today has been a great day since it's only the beginning of camp . I left home quite early although I was still sort of late, so my roommate, Morgan, was already moved in on the right side so I was took the left side. Even though dinner was pushed back, the cookies were delicious!! After dinner, I left with my family to finish getting my room settled because when I made it it was time to eat. I didn't start meeting other campers until we met in the dorms to decide on group names. I was assigned to a group with three boys which I am totally fine with because they are hard workers. We decided to name our group WOAH to represent the first letter of our hometowns , Woodville , Olive Branch , Amory and Hattiesburg. Since I had already viewed the documentary I headed back to my room. Overall , this has been a really good day, and I look forward to tomorrow being even better.
— RaShunda Veals