Oberlin Blogs

Ms. Ollstein Goes to Washington

April 2, 2010

Alice Ollstein ’10

I know Ben Jones will slaughter me if I don't blog about this week, so here goes.

Spring break of my senior year. Do I road-trip? Lounge on a beach somewhere? Nope. I spent this break trying my darndest to get a job. I'll be graduating in a few short months and though the uncertainty of my future is in some ways exciting I at least want to have a few options on the table. Luckily, Oberlin has a great alumni network. In journalism. In DC. And luckily they're all extremely friendly and accommodating. Ferd Protzman, who works for Oberlin president Marvin Krislov, is a former foreign correspondent with a wealth of connections and sound advice. I met with him a few weeks before spring break and he helped put me in touch with a slew of DC reporter Obies. For not having a journalism major, Oberlin has produced quite a few successful journalists, which my professor David Walker has already blogged about. I carpooled to DC with my housemate, armed with my resumé and ready to work those connections.

Even though I'm from Los Angeles, I get excited about visiting big cities after spending months in Oberlin. A metro! Thai food! People in professional clothing! Though I have much affection for Oberlin, it is good to get out once in a while. So I tramped around--in the sunshine and in the rain--meeting with Obies who made it in the rocky world of professional journalism. Some gave me solid leads on jobs and internships, some just gave advice, but all were very helpful. I might be back there this summer interning in the miserable heat with all the other intrepid young interns who pour into DC. I also got a great sense of the city and what it has to offer. I'm a big fan of the fast and comfortable public transit, the hip cafés, the used bookstores, and the nightlife. It was a rude awakening to remember how expensive everything is outside of Oberlin--rent, drinks, tickets to a play, etc.--but internships often lead to jobs, even though reporters don't bring in the big bucks. No one goes into journalism for the money. We do it because we love it, need it, have a fire to pursue it, and can't imagine ourselves doing anything else.

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