Day 32: The drop of a hat

Today was such a blur! How did this morning start off with all the time in the world, and here I am 15 hours later playing catch up?

Everything was going according to plan. I slept in until 8:45 a.m., went to my political science tutorial (where I had to do my short presentation on the consequences of World War I. It was kind of mundane, but it’s not my fault this material sounds like Gr. 10 Canadian History), sat through the lecture, and headed back to res. That’s when the craziness began.

I received a desperate email from the Charlatan news editor, Andrew. He had a very last minute story – front page material – and no one to write it! From what I gathered, he had already lost two writers who had bailed on him halfway through the story. This was a huge story, and it all had to be done by tomorrow. It would mean doing interviews all afternoon and all of tomorrow morning. Of course I had to take it!

There was another girl who would be working with me on it, Maghen. With so many people to contact, we really needed two people on this story. I won’t go into detail about what the story is yet, but it concerns food inspections at Carleton. Let’s just say I think I’ll be making more of my own meals from now on.

I ended up spending the afternoon in the Charlatan office making phone call after phone call. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get a hold of the people at Ottawa Public Health! I must have talked to about a dozen automated voice messaging systems and at least half a dozen clueless receptionists. I hunted down the president of the Graduate Students Association, and even made a trip down to the student clinic. I didn’t even know we had a student clinic! I assumed we had some sort of health care system, but a whole clinic? Well I definitely learned something new today.

I left the office at around 5 p.m. Maghen and I still had a lot of interviewing to do, but as it was already late in the afternoon when we started (around 2:30 p.m.), most people had already left work (so much for nine-to-five work hours). There was nothing we could do but wait until tomorrow.

That was only half of the madness. I also got an email from Robyn, one of the co-hosts of the radio show that I sat in on last Thursday. I had sent her an email yesterday asking if she still needed a volunteer for the show. (It’s a good thing I followed up actually. I had given her my contact information but I hadn’t heard back from her. Turns out she had lost the sheet of paper with my email address on it.)

She asked me if I’d be interested in doing the environmental news! Their whole show is based on geography and the environment. So now I have to search around online for about five interesting stories, paraphrase them into a few paragraphs each, write a short, snappy sentence to be read at the beginning and end of the show, and have it all done by Thursday at 7 a.m. So far, I’ve just been making a list of all the interesting environmental news items I’ve come across. I was going to start writing, but I think that’s going to have to wait until tomorrow.

That’s assuming of course that I still have time to get anything done tomorrow. Right after Chinese class (in which I have a test to write! Good thing I studied yesterday!), Maghen and I are going to track down some CUSA (Carleton University Student Association) members to get some interviews for our story. Then there’s the actual writing. We’re planning to start at 3 p.m. I’d like to optimistically aim to be done by 4 p.m.

With all this craziness going on, I haven’t even had time to look over my journalism assignment – the formal pitch. I do have the main ideas down, but it’s still rather rough and needs some refining. I think I’m going to have to work with my strengths, and that means … waking up early. In the past year, I’ve come to realize that I’m a morning person. I used to think morning people were the freaks who wake up to watch the sunrise, but in university student standards, anything before noon counts. As such, I think I’m going to wake up early tomorrow and hopefully do the following:

  1. review my Chinese for the test,
  2. edit my journalism pitch,
  3. do some follow up calls for the Charlatan article, and
  4. choose the news stories for the radio show (and start writing up some summaries)

Realistically, I see myself making it through points one and two before my brain explodes in the middle of the third one. I think it’s going to be a coffee day tomorrow. Let the games begin!

In a way, I like the craziness and the mad rush of having multiple assignments to do. I’m not insanely self-destructive. After all, you’ve probably heard enough to tell I do not enjoy all the academic deadlines I have to handle. But  the newspaper and the radio are a different story. I like the thrill of getting everything done and seeing the finished product. What a rush!

Side note: The radio show that I’m going to be on is called Spaces, Places and Faces. I wouldn’t get my hopes up since this is my first time on the air (the last time doesn’t count since I just introduced myself as a sit-in volunteer and babbled about journalism). You can catch it on 93.1 CKCU FM, bright and early at 7 a.m. on Thursday. This should be interesting.

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