Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An Olympic Dream

When I first heard that media communication majors from my University sometimes get to go work at the Olympics, my immediate thought was: I want to do that. Going to the London 2012 Olympics has been a mere dream and an unlikely goal of mine since before I even went to college. At first I was just a journalism major, but the dream of London was still there, whispering in the back of my mind, until finally I added that second major in my second year of college.

I worked so hard in my classes learning everything I could. I asked older media comm students which classes I should take, and I volunteered to help with as many films and TV production things as I could. The Why I Want to Go to the Olympics essay I was required to write to accompany my resume and application was probably the most convincing single page of writing I have ever produced. There are few things I've wanted more than this.

When I heard that I had been accepted, I was working in the Writing Center in the library, and I may or may not have screamed really loud, right there in the library. I'm not one of those girls who just randomly shrieks a lot. Sure, my laugh is loud, but I don't shriek. So the fact that I started yelling and jumping around means that was probably the best email I've ever gotten.

It was perfect that the Olympics was in London this year because people there speak English, and it's not a dangerous country to visit. Even so, I was a little nervous about flying alone and taking a solo journey to foreign country when I'd never even been outside the continent before. I was never without food, money, transportation, clean clothes, information, or someone to answer my questions. God really took care of me.

I went five days early to travel the city with some friends, and we got to see a lot of really cool sites including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Parliament Houses, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the London Eye, and many others. It was absolutely incredible. We stayed with my friend's mom's friend's daughter, if you can figure that one out. We were within walking distance of Tower Bridge, which is where the Olympic rings were proudly displayed!

After that, both of us moved to the University of East London. It was a blessing that we were living at the same place, and it was conveniently located really close to a DLR (overground train) station and also very close (about ten minutes) from the Olympic venue where I went to work each day.

It was such an incredible experience even though it wasn't really what I expected. It was really cool watching the competitions, and I especially enjoyed singing my national anthem when someone from the US won gold. I was a liaison officer, so I assisted the broadcasters to make sure they could do their jobs. One of my favorite things was meeting broadcasters from all over the world and hearing about their lives, jobs, languages, and former Olympics they helped cover. That was amazing.

One thing I hadn't really thought much about was what kind of people I'd be working with. I guess I just spent too much time worrying about the logistics of travel or what kind of work I'd be doing to consider my potential coworkers too much. I wound up working on a team of five, which was one of the smaller liaison officer teams, from what I observed. None of them were from my school, and actually, they all lived in London. I was immediately fascinated with their accents, schools, and different views on life. We were all very different, but we ended up being good friends. We worked every day except one for nineteen days, and usually the days were rather long, so we usually ate two meals together per day as well. We even hung out outside of work, which was fun. They were cool people, and we all looked out for each other. Actually, I hung out with them more than I saw people from my school who were also in London. I didn't expect to have such neat coworkers who were so close to my age, but I'm so glad I did!

I will probably write more about specific London-ish things that you may find interesting. I was there for a whole month, so there's still plenty to write about. But here I am, back in the US again, and I only have two days before I go back to school again. And I'm going to be a senior! I don't know how that happened, but I am really excited to see all my University friends!


  1. We're excited to see you, too, Melissa! (We're also glad that you are conscious during the day.)

  2. Haha, thanks, John Michael! It's good to be back in the USA. I want to hear about your adventures from this summer!