By Sara Snyder
The end of last week marked the biggest and one of the final steps in my GW career as a graduating Political Communication major. I hosted my very first documentary preview screening for my film, "Verge of Existence." The piece, funded by the first ever Manheim-Sterling Undergraduate Research Prize, looks into the lives of LGBTQ homeless youth living in New York City. As I spent hours last week in the edit bays of the 5th floor, I couldn't help but realize that these may be some of the last moments I would edit here. And as the hours ticked by, I felt a strange sense of nostalgia for the many hours I had already spent in SMPA over the last four years.While I may have been the kid who knew from the minute I stepped onto GW's campus that I wanted to come here, I couldn't have predicted the amazing opportunities and path I would take as an SMPA student. Thinking I was going to be a political reporter, I pursued my first internship with a local government as their communications intern. Almost as soon as I had signed on, I was ready to be done with this whole government thing. And this experience left me quickly without a dream job.
But with the support of some of the best SMPA faculty and the Internship Database, I began to find my footing right where my heart had been set the entire time. My mini-documentary from Jason Osder's class landed in the National Film Festival for Talented Youth in 2011, and I got to sit on a panel called "Out of the Closet, Onto the Screen" as an 'expert' student filmmaker. I traveled to Chattanooga, TN with Bridgett Lynn to see what made the newest Volkswagen Plant the first LEED Platinum Auto Plant in the world. I did all of this while interning with amazing companies like Prime Movers Media, Planet Forward, Spark Media, Believe Out Loud and National Geographic Society.But none of these opportunities would have meant anything without having incredible peers in both Political Communication and Journalism who pushed me to be my best. Production partners, classmates, friends and colleagues have been some of my greatest collaborators, toughest critics and most loyal fans that I have grown to respect and admire. By the time you take Senior Seminar, it is no longer just a class but a weekly family gathering.
When the lights went down and the music started playing from my film, I was overwhelmed by how many familiar faces filled my audience. I have felt so much love and support from my classmates and all of the amazing professors that helped me reach my full potential in this program.
I have never felt more proud to be part of a community like SMPA. People always say that SMPA majors have more SMPA pride than GW pride, and I can certainly say that I've felt that last week. There is no place I have been more proud to call home than the School of Media and Public Affairs.