OPINION: How a trip to Scotland helped me realize my potential

Dansville senior Hunter McLaren (left) poses for a photo with students from the BIS 342 "Selling on the Green" course May 28 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Courtesy photo)

This summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland to report on marketing and hospitality faculty member Deborah Gray’s BIS 342 “Selling on the Green” course. 

I was able to take the trip overseas thanks to several generous donations from the CMU College of Business Administration, the Department of Finance and Law, the School of Accounting, the College of the Arts and Media Department of Journalism and Central Michigan Life.

Even though I was in Scotland and traveled with the students, I wasn’t enrolled in the course.

Instead, I acted as a reporter. I followed groups of students as they golfed, listened to their conversations about business pitches, photographed them and – as all good journalists should do – asked lots of questions. 

Dansville senior Hunter McLaren poses for a photo May 25 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Courtesy Photo)

Three years of journalism courses and Central Michigan Life experience equipped me with the skills I needed to succeed. I also received a lot of advice from faculty members, which meant I always knew exactly what to do and where to be. Central Michigan Life Adviser Dave Clark spoke with me extensively about story ideas before I left for the trip to make sure I knew what to look for and inquire about. 

Photojournalism faculty member Tim Fitzgerald shared advice for golf photography, letting me know exactly where to set up for the best shots.

The trip was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. It was a test of my skills as a reporter, writer and photographer. Because of the circumstances, there could be no do-overs -- if I missed a photo or forgot to ask a question, I wasn't able to fly back to Scotland the next week and do it again. 

It forced me to be intentional in my reporting and photography in a way that I’ve never experienced. I’ve gained professional confidence because of the opportunity and I'm a stronger reporter for it. 

Hunter McLaren is an Associate Editor for Central Michigan Life. He is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in multimedia design.