Feeling Blessed Halfway Through the Institute

Memorial Day weekend marked the midway point for us at the Institute and as a nice treat we spent the day at the beautiful home of Joe and Nancy Sharkey, journalism professors at the University of Arizona.

We had the chance to get away from the newsroom for a bit, while we barbecued and enjoyed the desert landscape. The Sharkey’s backyard gave us a wonderful view of the mountains, giant cactuses and a sunset that made for a perfect get-together.

Some students even spotted what they thought was a gila monster and a long snake skin on the fringes of the yard.

With all the work going around in the newsroom, I realized how much I have taken the desert for granted. I’m from Victorville, Calif., in the Mojave Desert, but I never truly took a moment to appreciate the desert’s beauty.

In Victorville, I was surrounded by Joshua trees and starry skies. Here in Tucson, a glance at a Saguaro cactus or hazy sunset in the evening is enough to leave someone in awe.

This all has led me to appreciate the rest of my days here at the Institute. “Blessed” is the word I use to describe the time I have been spending here with the New York Times faculty and staff.

As a designer at the Institute, I am one of the last students to leave the newsroom. In some ways it limits me from spending my nights interacting with other students, but that’s all right. Instead, I get to spend more time with the rest of the faculty, who, in my eyes, are some of the coolest people I have ever met.

The time that I have spent here has been a learning experience that I get to share with award-winning journalists who I look up to and hope to be like some day.