By Alexandra Gargon (Whetstone Staff Writer)

You can learn a lot in unexpected places.

I was lucky enough to get a chance to go to Phoenix, Az., for a journalism conference with two fellow students and two advisors. We planned to attend seminars, take notes and better our understanding of journalistic techniques.

I did all of that, and more.

I never expected to leave that place feeling what you could almost call an epiphany.I was so inspired, I couldn’t wait to rush back to school and use some of the techniques for the paper right away.

For two days, we sat in seminars that dealt with all different kinds of journalism topics from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished in a short amount of time.

I learned how to deal with reporting on tragedies, reporting at a small, private college and reporting controversial topics on campus.

Obviously, I had planned to listen closely and come out of there with a better understanding of how journalism works.

But, it was much more than that.

After the seminars were over, each day at about four in the afternoon, we had a chance to do whatever we wanted, to go out and explore Phoenix. Even during this time, I still had all the notes I took and all the things I learned on my mind.I did, however, focus on having down time.

We found a cool mall called Arizona Mills. It took a couple of trains and buses to get us there, but it was cool nonetheless.

We took a walk around the blocks surrounding the hotel we were staying at to find places to eat. With the warm weather, we were able to eat outside under string lights. It made me feel bad for those who were still in Dover in all the snow that they got.

Despite all the exploring we did during our down time, I found that I still couldn’t get the seminars out of my head. I was seriously motivated, more motivated than I think I have ever felt before.

I hope you’ll be able to see what I learned in the stories I write for the paper from now on.