Alumni Corner: Emily Gaffney ’12

October 25th, 2012

I’m going to be honest with you all; I feel strange writing this column as an alumna – probably because I’ve only recently become one. It was less than six months ago that I walked across the stage on the John Carroll quad in the interminable sun (it was in the 90s that day) to accept my diploma and shake the hand of the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J.

Since that afternoon, a lot has happened, and rapidly so. I moved far away from my family, left the safety of John Carroll and student life, moved to a city bigger than any I’ve lived in before and started a “big girl” job. All of this is very exciting and very terrifying all at once.

The city I moved to is Washington, D.C. Moving here has been my dream since I was about 10 years old. I don’t know how long I’ll be here, so to have the opportunity to live here during an election makes it just that much sweeter.

I have always been interested in elections; I actually find them fascinating; but this year, my life is somewhat consumed by them, because my new “big girl” job is at NBC’s “Meet the Press,” a public affairs program that is celebrating its 65th anniversary this November.

Each week they have top officials, staff members and journalists on to talk about what has happened that week in the political world, what it means and how it will shape the next week and beyond. While this is an enormously important task every Sunday, it is especially so during an election season. During the election season, the staff works to talk about the major issues of the campaigns, and challenge the positions and plans of the candidate. They try to present the best information to the public before they vote.

Aside from that, the job has afforded me to meet some very smart and amazing people, some of whom I’ve admired for a long time. I’ve met journalists like Tom Brokaw, Tom Friedman, Helene Cooper, Peggy Noonan and E.J. Dionne. I’ve met governors, senators and mayors. I’ve met staff members from both presidential campaigns, who I used to see on programs like “Meet the Press” all the time.

I hope before this experience comes and goes I’m able to see both presidential candidates on the program. I hope I’m able to see what it’s like in a newsroom on an election night. I hope I’m able to watch the newly elected president, whoever he may be, sworn into office. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and I plan on taking full advantage of them.

This experience has been a dream come true, and I know I’d never be here if not for John Carroll. My advice to you: Jump at any opportunity you come across, whether it’s trying something new with a class or club, further exploring your interests by taking on a leadership role in some activity, gaining experience with an internship or simply making connections with professors, speakers on campus or those you meet through your various experiences. You never know which opportunity may land you your dream.