By Alaina Pangelina and Monica Martinez
Community. It can surprise you what you learn in and through such a community as a collection of college students from across the country interested in journalism.
Monica Martinez got first-hand experience in the middle of the semester at WJC."I fell. I missed one step going down the stairs and my ankle suffered an injury. It was sprained.
I was seated by Sari and Sonja, my fellow WJCers. They came to my rescue. As I sat down, I realized the rest of the crew surrounded me and looked at me with caring eyes.
They asked me how I felt and they wanted to help. I quickly told them that my injury wasn’t anything serious and that they could go back and continue their night as they had planned. But they didn’t go.
Hillary left to grab her crutches for me. Sonja left to grab ice. Sari inspected my ankle and foot to make sure I was ok. And the rest of the gang stayed by my side. They wanted to be with me until I made it back to my apartment.
This was a new experience for me. Back home, I don’t live on campus and I don’t have these types of interactions with people taking care of me when I am weak or needy, other than my family of course. Farron even bought me ice cream to make me feel better!
I think my semester here is teaching me in a variety of platforms. I am learning in and out of the classroom. I’m learning about the horror of replicating “The Beast” and of building a community, the community that is WJC."
The first few weeks are filled with bonding opportunities, and before you know it you are great friends with people from your rival schools. Yes, three close friends at WJC are from competing schools in Southern California. Alaina Pangelina from Azusa Pacific University (middle) is friends with Amy Seed from Biola University (left) and Monica Martinez, from California Baptist University (right).
At our rival basketball games we would sit on the opposite benches, but here we share many laughs as we attempt to carry grocery bags stuffed with supplies on the metro. We exchange mutual complaints while wading through record amounts of snow. We encourage and read as we edit articles late into the night while running on legal stimulants, of course. We have experienced adventures throughout the city. We also tell each other to ‘hang in there’ through internships, readings, edits, and all our hopes and fears verbalized. We enjoy dinners together where we can laugh over the past week's adventures and what we hope to do in the coming week, with a wide interspersal of jokes in between.
There is not many a night there are not at least four of us in one of the lounges, with the news or a movie on, laughing and working on our laptops. Despite differences and still a lot to learn, I take the liberty of giving another definition of community:
We are unified in wanting to do our best, encourage one another, learn and enjoy our time here. No, we did not forget Greg’s warning to never be seen with an I Love DC t-shirt, but that does not mean they can provide great relief, photo opportunities, and of course, giggles.