Elon in Iowa

All of the Iowa 'feels'

Posted January 17

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio speaks with student journalists from Elon University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 17, 2016.

— Since arriving in Iowa, I’ve noticed the various feelings I personally have gone through. The feelings come in waves and vary rather drastically. It typically depends on a variety of factors. Those factors may include the events we may be attending and/or reporting on or something as simple as the weather. Over the past weeks, I’ve noticed certain feelings or reactions I personally have had that have stood out to me.

For example, when I look on social media and see my friends who are doing a January term abroad in exotic locations. Their posts and photos are of warm destinations, and if not warm, simply glamorous areas of the world. From Morocco to Vietnam, even Munich. And then I remember that I’m in Des Moines, Iowa, where if the temperature is in the positive numbers, it’s worth celebrating. If I’m being honest, it is the biggest culprit in my swing of feelings. When it is mind-numbingly cold, it becomes difficult to remember why we were all crazy enough to be willing to go to Iowa in January.

But I digress, because then we have these unbelievable moments where you stand back and have to think to yourself how amazing of an opportunity this trip is. My most amazing moment happened today. I was able to attend a Marco Rubio town hall event with media coverage access alongside Ashley Bohle.

At this point in the trip, I think it is safe to say we have gotten the hang of attending these events as media. We understand where to set up our camera, who to talk to, what B-roll we should be looking to capture … and the list can go on. The biggest difference of today’s event was that we were going to be covering one of the Republican front-runners. Although we were able to gain media access to a Donald Trump rally on Friday morning, we were not granted access to the media gaggle proceeding his speech. Today was not the case. Ashley and I ran over with our microphone and camera in hand alongside local media as well as national networks. As Rubio came over to the gaggle, his press secretary clearly knew who the reporters and network embeds were. After maybe five to 10 minutes of her calling on them personally and the senator answering questions, he was ready to head out.

Before I continue, I must admit I am not the most confrontational person on the planet. As Rubio began to exit, I had a slight pang of fear that I was going to miss a huge opportunity. That was when I heard myself speak up saying, "Senator, I am a college student. Can I ask you one question?" His press secretary gave me a quick glance followed by a follow-up question, "Only one?" And from there, the rest is camera (and now YouTube) history. I am a senior in college, and I was able to get a question in with the potential next president of the United States. That is the biggest "WOW" moment I have had thus far on this trip.

It is days like today that, when I see my friend’s Instagram photo of a beautiful mountain top or foreign city, I don’t feel as bad. I have that moment of realization that this trip is bigger than any of us. No matter our class years or majors, we are all going to be able to look back on this experience and smile.


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About this Blog:

Elon University students are in Iowa, covering the presidential campaign and caucuses are part of their coursework.