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A Year of Firsts

By Annie Claire Bergeron-Oliver ’12

The day I received my acceptance letter from Columbia Journalism is forever etched in my memory.

I was at school in Toronto, Canada, reading my final thesis draft to my roommates. Up popped the email notification on my laptop and I screamed. I called my astonished parents who were momentarily seized with fear that I had been attacked. It took me fifteen minutes to summon up the courage to open the email. When I finally did, it was an apparent disappointment. Tantalizingly, the page only said a decision had been made but with no details. Five pages later, with just one word, my dream of attending this great Ivy League school had come true It said “Accepted”

This past year has been the best and worst time of my life. I thought that being a student-athlete at the University of Toronto with almost 60 hours of training and class each week was tough. I was wrong. Columbia has stretched my intellectual horizons and physical limits, each time edging that boundary one step further. I’ve improved my craft by becoming a better storyteller, learning to ask tougher and more relevant questions, and more importantly solidifying my passion for reporting.

It’s been a year of firsts. My first all-nighter was spent producing a six-minute crime and consequence video for RW1. I fell asleep at 4am with a video camera on my lap as it imported files. I created videos and radio pieces, some better than others, which were published and subsequently spread across various social media platforms by proud friends, family and even the odd viewer. I ventured alone into a New York City Housing Project against police advice, travelled to the heart of the Bronx at 2am for an RW1 story, and attended my first professional National Hockey League game as a sports reporter. I have met incredible New Yorkers with powerful stories and rich histories that I’ve been honored to tell.

I feel privileged to have been trained at a school that has given many of the best journalists in the world the beginnings of their careers. Walking into the J-school building, aptly renamed Pulitzer Hall this year after the muckraking American publisher, is incredibly humbling and inspiring.

Posted by: Current StudentCurrent Student April 2012

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