OPINION: City 101: Valuable information I learned when traveling


Courtesy of Amy DeVault

Opinion editor Emmie Boese, Design director Thy Vo, and Editor-in-chief Lindsay Smith at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I’ve traveled a lot throughout my life. Between me and my sister’s soccer tournaments, traveling to see my grandparents in Oklahoma and see my cousins in Florida — The list doesn’t stop there.

Traveling has taught me a lot of life skills. Skills that we can all use in everyday life like talking to different people, being aware of your surroundings while driving and budgeting your money.

However, traveling to Long Beach, California this past week for the Associated Collegiate Press conference with some of my co-workers at The Sunflower and our adviser has brought on a whole different perspective. California and Kansas are two completely different places and atmospheres and with that comes a lot of tips and tricks that living in Kansas I never thought of.

The day after our arrival we took a ride on the metro all the way to Hollywood in Los Angeles, roughly a two hour commute. Right before we got on the metro, a kind police officer gave us a lot of safety tips. He told us that sitting in the front is the safest option. He also told us to hide our phones and to not be on them on the ride. As someone who had never rode the metro before, this was valuable information that I can use in future adventures.

Being aware of your surroundings does not just start with riding on the metro or on a bus. Walking on the streets in heavily populated areas and popular tourist attractions calls for being extra careful for your own safety.

On Hollywood Boulevard, many people came up to us and asked if we could donate money in order to start a music or acting career. These people were just trying to make a buck. However, every time we said no, they would come back again.

One man dressed up like a stormtrooper from Star Wars came and grabbed one of my co-workers without asking if she wanted a photo in the first place. Even though we were uncomfortable with a stranger touching us, we played along so he would leave us alone. We quickly left him right after.

My co-workers and I agreed that the time we spent together at the conference and learning new skills to become a better journalist is something that we will put to good use for the rest of our careers. Traveling is an important skill that many journalists will need while covering stories. However, our “City 101” lessons will be put to good use even after our journalism careers end. Life experience — in the classroom and beyond — is irreplaceable.