Summer camps and workshops provide a way for students to live away from home and experience college life. While 288 high school students go through this scenario at the High School Journalism Institute at Indiana University this summer, they’re not the only ones attempting to adjust in a new environment.
One of the workshop’s newest additions includes Lindsey Medlen, a HSJI and IU graduate who is back to spend two weeks this summer as a HSJI counselor.
In a journalism program like HSJI, founded 67 years ago, there are some members of faculty that have worked at HSJI for twenty summers. And then there are complete newbies like Medlen.
Medlen first came to Bloomington for HSJI in 2008, and that trip encouraged her to attend IU and further inspired her to pursue journalism.
“I actually participated in the HSJI camp myself as a junior before my senior year of high school, and this camp made me want to come to IU as a student, so I wanted to go full circle and give back to HSJI,” Medlen said.
After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in journalism with two minors in fine arts from IU this May, Medlen is giving back by working as a counselor for HSJI.
“It has been very busy, but very exciting to meet all of you because a lot of you remind me of myself a few years ago, so it’s exciting to see young fresh faces in journalism,” Medlen said.
According to Medlen, the workshop hasn’t changed a lot. “I think the first thing somebody said last night when I asked them how their day was, was: ‘I can’t believe we already have homework,’ I just remember that being one of my first thoughts, too.”
Medlen’s experience at HSJI, IU’s School of Journalism, and internship at the Nonprofit Association of Monroe County—and now as a counselor—allows her to advise other young journalists who are walking toward a similar path.
Medlen said that with time comes knowledge. She said she realized this after looking back on her first story published in the Indiana Daily Student covering flag football in comparison to her more recent work. “You get so much better as you write, and write and write,” Medlen said.
Medlen also shared her biggest lesson from HSJI. “I learned to be on my own, I don’t think I’d ever been away from home until I came to HSJI, and I learned to make new friends quickly, and it was a good time,” Medlen said.
“I learned how to become a leader because I took the editor-in-chief section,” Medlen said. “(Our staff) totally changed the way that our newspaper looked and felt, and it was a very good working time, we got a lot done.”
According to Medlen, the campus is familiar to her because she attended IU. Even though it is her first year being a HSJI counselor, it’s a workshop that she experienced as a student so it helps her advise students.
“I think (the workshop director) likes the idea of having somebody that’s experienced it on (the student’s) side, ‘cause it helps us understand where you’re coming from.”