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A Look Back at the Women’s Final Four

By: Anna Woodward

When I first received this assignment, I had to take some time to think about what to write. Even though this experience has only lasted four or five months, it’s weird to think of not getting emails about the next event or practicing questions for my next interview. I was unsure of what to write until I went to a journalism convention this weekend and as I was interviewing people and working nonstop to get my assignment done, I realized how impactful Press Pass was in enabling me to be a better journalist.

Through Press Pass, I’ve learned how to ask questions, conduct an interview or even moderate a panel. I’ve learned how to take photos, write, and put myself out there more than I ever would have before this opportunity. During my time in Press Pass, I talked to a wide variety of people including different ages, fields of work, and even countries! Being able to become more conversational with people is easily one of the most essential skills that I took away from this experience.

Being able to interact with and talk to more people was my favorite part of Press Pass. I saw new perspectives and heard stories that improved the assignment on which I was working. I also learned how important it is to practice beforehand and that nothing is ever as bad as you think it’ll be. These lessons tie back into my point of talking to different types of people.

The two experiences that I’ll definitely remember the most from this opportunity are the two panels that I moderated. Both times, I was nervous beforehand and worried about messing up. I thought I would be so intimidated by the people I was talking to that I might shut down. Thanks to Press Pass and all the mentors that helped me along the way, I was confident in my performance in both instances.

I’ve improved a lot as both a journalist and a person. I’m much more comfortable with going up to people and talking to them with ease. A year ago, I’d hate ordering food or asking for help in a store.

I learned so much, not only from my mentors but also the girls that I worked alongside. When I first met them, I was unsure of how this experience would turn out because they were all people who did so much, could stay super involved and balanced, and on top of that, be kind and always ready to take on a challenge. I was afraid that since I wasn’t as involved at school or that I didn’t talk as much, I wouldn’t be able to measure up to them. I rarely compare myself to others, but I felt like I wasn’t able to do as well because all of these other girls were outgoing and great at talking to people. I really wanted to be like that. Getting to know them has made me respect them even more and through them, I’ve learned that it’s easier than I thought to take the initiative and put myself out there. Not only has Press Pass taught me valuable lessons, but it’s also given me the chance to meet girls who share some of the same interests as me. It's something for which I'm incredibly grateful.

Something that I really liked about Press Pass was the variety of experiences. I got to go to basketball games, press conferences, concerts, special events like Beyond Barriers, workshops, tours, and more. It’s because of this variety of experiences that I truly got to see what goes into journalism in almost all aspects. Not only was each experience eye-opening, but being comfortable with the people that were mentoring me was extremely helpful. They were all friendly, easy to talk to, and accessible. It was comforting – especially from the perspective of someone who likes to know exactly who I will be with and what I’m doing.

When I think of Press Pass, I think of the new perspective that it gave me on sports and how much hard work goes into not only playing the game but covering it. I also think of how important this opportunity was by allowing me what captures my interest most. Because of Press Pass, I remembered how much I love hearing stories and experiencing new things and conveying those two themes through journalism. Overall, this was a fantastic opportunity, one that I am so thankful for and know will help me wherever I go in life. I hope that I can encourage more MediaGirlz to take advantage of opportunities like Press Pass because they really do make a difference in your life.

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