By Emily O’Connor
COLUMBIA, Mo. — This journey to Costa Rica will be one full of excitement and hard work. I think it will also be the larger beginning of a career that involves deep thinking and noticing how the small aspects of culture and ecology impact the larger picture. It will be a lesson in looking from the bottom to the top. How do these tiny drops of water on a single leaf affect the entire ecosystem of the tropical forest in which I stand?
My mind is already swimming with questions about the ecology of Costa Rica and what the journey will be like. Although we are preparing with context and culture, which are important pieces to this puzzle, I want to avoid getting ahead of myself. The journey before me is still a mystery, and woe be to me if I think I understand this culture before I even step foot into it. The crux of this journey is perception and attention to detail. How do I write in-depth, captivating articles about a place I barely know? I pay attention.
My goal for this journey is to pay attention, to train my journalist’s eye and notice the importance of detail. The story is always more complex than it appears to be on the outside, and my job is to dig deeper. To a certain extent, I think this might almost be easier to accomplish in a foreign culture. Everything might seem odd and attention worthy, so it will be easy to pay attention. However, back home as I am doing journalistic work, I must implement my training and be critical of common occurrences in society that might not appear attention worthy at the surface. Those, too, might be situations in which the detail gives way to a larger, more hidden picture. Ultimately, I am hoping that this journey will equip me with the tools necessary to be a hard-hitting journalist upon return.