Students adjust to dorm life at MediaNowSTL


Kansas Gibler

The sky clears after days of dreary weather in St. Charles. Students had been expecting thunderstorms.

Kansas Gibler

As Joseph Anderson drove into the Lindenwood University campus with his yearbook adviser, he realized that the campus is nothing like the high school campus he is accustomed to.

“[The dorms aren’t] very different from home, as I tend to be pretty self sufficient anyway,” Anderson said. “It’s harder to have to motivate yourself to wake up early and be with your group on time when you know you could probably sleep in.”

Anderson, who lives with his parents and brother in Lawrence, Kansas, was among the teens attending the MediaNowSTL camp who assumed a role of self sufficiency, bringing themselves to the Spellmann Center every morning before tackling their projects.

Out of more than 180 students who attended the MediaNowSTL camp, those staying on campus had similar experiences to Anderson’s in which they were responsible for themselves from Sunday night to Wednesday afternoon.

Thirteen of 23 students who were polled said they had never attended a camp, let alone a camp that took place on a college campus away from home. One difference was living in a dorm.

After heading up to the dorm rooms with suitcases and duffle bags, students turned the brass keys into the locks and pushed into the rooms, and were greeted with two firm beds, two closets, two desks, two chairs, and one bathroom – the bathroom that was to be shared among four people.

Anderson has spent over 10 years sharing a bathroom with one other person, his younger brother Journey. This slight inconvenience was tripled for the three-night stay.

“I wasn’t crazy about sharing a bathroom at first, but after I met the other students and we organized a schedule, it wasn’t too bad,” Anderson said.

Once everything had been unpacked and bathroom schedules were made, students like Zia Kelly from Lawrence High School discovered the lack of trash cans, hand soap, and hangers.

“Not having a trash can was inconvenient, but the Media Now organizers brought us trash bags which worked,” Kelly said.

Before the kick-off on Sunday afternoon, outfits and toiletries were tossed out of bags and organized into their places before everyone left the dorms to walk up the hill to the main building.

Dinner that night was a carbo load of mushy pasta with boxed mashed potatoes and lots of desserts and ice cream. It took 24 hours for some to realize that mindlessly picking food was no longer going to cut it.

“The food at camp is better than high school cafeteria food, but it’s still cafeteria food and it’s incredibly unhealthy,” Kelly said. “The only healthy thing is salad.”

All day classes engulfed campers in lectures, assignments, and new technology. Kelly was in a mobile journalism class while Anderson took the photography essentials course. The mobile class used new and familiar apps, and photo students learned how to use their cameras and Photoshop in new ways.

“Having Photoshop CC and updated software was nice and so was the ability to use it,” Anderson said.

As MediaNowSTL wrapped up in its final full day, students polished the works they created and were – for the most part – warmed up to the camp.

“I’m more comfortable here now,” Anderson said, “but it will be good to finally get home.”