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The Everlasting Year
meriemil rodriguez, Alum
Graduate School of Journalism 1967

I arrived at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in Sept. of 1967 from San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was a year of many firsts for me: my first time in New York, my first subway ride, and my first formal education in journalism.

It took two tries to get in the school, and I looked forward to that year with awe and anticipation. My background was in applied arts, and I had been working as a reporter for the style section (then the women's section) of The San Juan Star. Columbia meant refining my skills and living in NYC.

And that's what happened. From the first day, when I was sent out to do a story about the Minetta Brook in the Village on one of the rainiest days the city had experienced. I got lost, drenched and ruined my shoes but I got my story on deadline.

The J School changed my life and opened the world. I stayed and worked in NYC after graduation and went on to work as a reporter in Vermont, Kansas City and Houston for major metro dailies. For the next 20 years, I worked and traveled. When I returned to Puerto Rico for good in 1987, I brought back a wealth of knowledge and experiences useful for my jobs, including my work as the founding executive director of the Center for the Freedom of the Press in Puerto Rico. Wherever I've lived, I've triend to get in touch with other J School alumni. I've mentored students and encouraged others to attend the school.

It's hard to mention a favorite book or a favorite professor because they were all good, but some come to mind such as John Hohenberg, Melvin Mencher, Dean Baker, Professor Yu, Fred Friendly, and all the guests that dropped in for our seminars such as Robert Kennedy. But my favorites still remain the men and women of the Class of 1967, whom I'm looking forward to seeing again for an anniversary next year.

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