Stories from the podium: my CJWSC experience

Can't wait for next year's CJWSC! (Photo by Gian Jeremy Suyat)

I was never meant to host any part of the UP Journalism Club’s recently concluded Campus Journalism Workshop Summer Camp (CJWSC). I wanted to, and even “auditioned” earlier this year to host the opening ceremonies, but it seemed the core team had other plans, and I didn’t want to push it. In the grueling weeks leading up to the camp I had devoted myself to helping out the Engineering team—painstakingly digitizing sketches after sketches of Atherva and Ramrod for the storyline AVPs.

And then of course, like everyone else I wanted to be a facilitator—I wanted my own group of Asters to play big brother to. It was a high school camp after all, and the thing I had most looked forward to was immersing myself in the (pre)pubescent vibe! That’s why when I was told by Redd to do the Sessions with Liza I had mix feelings about it—while it opened up an equally crucial and challenging role for me in the camp, it also meant that I could no longer be a facilitator.

I’m as talkative as anyone can get, and speaking up in public has never been my problem, but then speaking to a group of twenty people in Skywalk—all of whom are your friends—is completely different to speaking to an auditorium of more than one hundred fifty wide-eyed teens whose attention spans are short and whose first instinct, you know because you were once in high school yourself, would always be to spot something wrong in whoever they find speaking before them.

But before long, Liza and I were rousing the campers to roll calls every morning. We’d go around the FI asking questions, talking about UPCAT, K-Pop—and yes, love—just to engage the kids and get their attention. And whenever we’d fail to elicit a hearty and resounding “Oria!” from the crowd, we’d feel that we’re faltering in our task and internally shake our heads. We’d feel bad whenever we’d need to hold them up for lunch for program extensions.

We’d smile like we’ve never had anything to worry about other than standing before them and repeating our sponsor’s slogans, but when the programs have begun and the lights dimmed, that’s when we’d doze off from the preceding day’s assessment and preparations.

I had never been so meticulously picked at in my life. In the final assessment, one facilitator gave me an elaborate dressing down that started from me not being beki enough to just how overworked my facial oil glands were and how it seemed to her was very distracting! But it was a small price to pay for being a host in the biggest and first ever camp of its kind in the country.

Up in the podium was also where I learned how crucial teamwork was. As hosts, Liza and I always had to be on standby for cues from the Programs and the Engineering committees. Our next move was always contingent on what the other committees and the director would tell us.

When the closing day came, we didn’t have any newsrooms to say goodbye to. We didn’t have leftover snacks to pack or sponsor merchandise to give away. All we had was a script for the closing ceremony, and before it began, Liza and I asked the campers one last time if they were excited for the last part of the camp. It was the first time, in all the camp’s five days, that I was pleased to hear a loud chorus of “Nee!” instead.

For the non-camp participants, Oria means “yes” and Nee means “no”.

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5 thoughts on “Stories from the podium: my CJWSC experience

  1. Hello, Ralph. Your work should have been a little easier and more guided had it been not because of me. You and Liza did a good Sessions job after all. Cheers!

  2. Yes, you didn’t have a newsroom to say goodbye to, but you had the love of the entire asterinum. Not to mention those “tweens” who kept on trailing, if not fan girling, you — pictures here and there. Remember what I exclaimed in the restroom while you were fixing your hair?

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