Day 11 – Mosaic lasts forever!

Hannah Chebeleu, Aysha Rehman and David Early // Photo by Mosaic Staff

Hannah Chebeleu and Aysha Rehman goof around outside the SJSU dorms. // Photo by Mosaic Staff

By Aysha Rehman, Mosaic Staff Writer

As I look back on these past two weeks, I’m surprised they went by so quickly. Not only did this week just slip through my fingers, but I also bonded with 15 other teenagers I never thought I could befriend. I feel like this group has been has been a lot of fun to work with, and I know that after Mosaic truly ends, I will be floating around in denial…because Mosaic lasts forever, at least in our hearts.

I learned a lot about journalism, and how to get up to par with professional writing, skills that will be invaluable when I come back to school this August. I learned how to interact with people completely different than myself, and I saw parts of the city life that really changed my perspective about the kinds of people we have in this world, from the homeless to the rich of the rich.

I suppose one of the most important things I got from Mosaic aside from the skill set to dominate the newsroom was a group of lifelong friends. I can honestly say that these people will be here for me when I need them as I hope to be there for them when they need me. From my roommates to my editors, I feel like everyone has a place in my heart, and I do hope that this is not the end of our time together–I want to see everyone again, at least every once in awhile.

I will forever remember our group hangouts and outings. I will remember rooming with the wonderful not-shy Semira 🙂 I will remember the other girls making my hair and watching High School Musical 2. Most of all I will remember those quiet moments where it seems that everyone is just absorbing the presence of everyone else–because this group couldn’t have been more perfectly put together.

For those who are thinking about applying to Mosaic, when the time comes jump at the chance, because the experience you will have will stick with you For. A. Lifetime. Everything from the technical skills to the social skills, I can definitely say that I’ve become a better writer, as well as a more confident person.

So my dear friends and editors alike, I will miss you all when the time comes to truly say ‘adieu.’ I do hope to see your smiling faces again, even if it means you have to fly over here from Idaho, or drive all the way from Monterey 🙂

This is not the end Class of 2015, Mosaic lasts forever!

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Day 6 – Looking into the future

Mosaic reporters Jacky Tsang, Megan Robalewski, Sara Ashary and Semira Sherief enjoy some free time in newsroom. // Photo by Mosaic staff

Mosaic reporters Jacky Tsang, Megan Robalewski, Sara Ashary and Semira Sherief enjoy some free time in the newsroom. // Photo by Mosaic staff

By Sara Ashary, Mosaic Staff Writer and part-time clairvoyant

(Editors Note: Saturday is usually a slow day in the newsroom, so we’ve allowed Mosaic staffer Sara Ashary to take a hypothetical look into the future of Mosaic’s 2015 class)

So today I did a lot of writing but the most interesting thing was predicting with my Mosaic squad where we each will be in 20 years. Here we go…

Steezy and Hannah: We decided to put them together because their futures will be alike. They each are going to be with someone that is like a hippie and/or an animal lover. Their families will go to music festivals and take many photos.

Sara: I think I will become an accountant.

Aysha: She will become a successful podcaster and talk about Middle Eastern problems and give a whole new view to everyone.

Joelle: She is going tp be like the next Melinda Gates. She is going to be smoking rich because her husband is like a computer genius. She is going to do yoga in the mornings, wear nice expensive simple dresses. She will do a whole lot of charity work while being super smart. She will be a very influential activist.

Jacky: Jacky is an interesting man, so he will take life as it goes.

Tomas: He is going to manage the Earthquakes with like a bluetooth on his left ear and a clipboard in his hand. AKA Making bank.

Noah: One look at Noah and you will understand: He will be an Anchor Man for channel 4 news.

Rachel: National Geographic Photographer that travels around the world. She will wear khakis and green cargo jackets with red toms.

Kaitlyn: She is going to have a PhD but have no idea what to do with it. She will probably end up alright and make herself a great life, living in Palo Alto.

Semira: Semira is such a beautiful soul. I see her marrying a celebrity (like Chris Pine). There will be pictures of her wearing sunglasses, Starbucks in her hand and yoga capris.

Matt: Famous Novelist, like the next John Green. Touring around the country for his new book.

Adele: She is going to be like a CEO. Like imagine her coming into our reunion and she is wearing a pencil skirt and talking on the phone, screaming at her assistant for giving her the wrong fax.

Megan: Megan is going to live that American life and live that high class life. There be a white picket-fence home with two kids. She will drive a Mercedes.

David: David is going to be doing some freelance photography and live alone in this really boyish apartment.

Shannon: Holy guacamole! I do not even know. Maybe the first Asian-American president. She is independent and smart.

Day 3 – Human side of homelessness

Mosaic staff writer Aysha Rehman speaks to a homeless veteran // Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer

Mosaic staff writer Aysha Rehman speaks to a homeless veteran in San Jose. // Photo by Steven Barajas, Mosaic Staff Photographer

By Aysha Rehman, Mosaic Staff Writer

Not once in my entire life did I think I would befriend a homeless person, let alone three homeless people. But I did. Today I was on my way to Sacred Heart Community Service to begin writing my story on homelessness in San Jose. To be quite honest, it wasn’t exactly that helpful, but where me and Steven were directed next really changed things for me.

We were told to go to the Bacardo homeless shelter, over 5 blocks away and a 25 minute walk from where we began. I felt really bad making Steven walk all that way with me, and when we got to the shelter, we were turned away, not having permission to be on the premises.

On our way out, a homeless veteran by the name of Michael M. approached us and asked us if we were writing about veterans. Seeing how this was a great opportunity, we asked if we could sit and talk with him about his situation, and he had quite a bit to tell us. Well spoken and very politely, Michael M. told us not only how he became homeless, but also the medical issues he had along with the shelter he had been visiting.

He’s been homeless since 2006, and has been to quite a few places, but the fervor with which he spoke was really something unique. Here is this gruff, initially scary looking veteran approaching you about his situation, and he gives you this perspective that you never really considered–that perhaps not all homeless people are scary, let alone violent to say the least. They’re just frustrated and, as he liked to put it, “have no business being homeless.”

In the process, we were kicked off the shelter’s lawn but continued the interview just a little ways away from two more amazing human beings, Frank and Michael W., two men Steven and I actually passed before coming to the shelter. Michael W. said hello as we passed, but it never crossed my mind that we would be coming back to say hello again.

Frank was also a veteran like Michael M., and had been essentially, kicked out of a house he shared with others before it was sold and he became homeless in October. Michael, was homeless for a short time as well, and befriended Frank just a week before. The two have traveled as a pair since.

I didn’t really talk much with Michael W., but I did have a discussion with Frank, and he had many lovely things to say about the community here in San Jose. He felt that people here cared, and did a lot of things to help out, despite not being able to get the low-income housing he really needed.
After our long and meaningful exchanges, it was time for me and Steven to leave, and so we packed up, and both pairs parted ways. I think if anything, today I saw the real, unedited human side of homelessness. I met some really sweet human being that had “no business being homeless,” and deserved so much better. I just hope I can do their situations justice and get their story out to people that can help.

Day 2 – Leave a message at the tone

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Mosaic staff writer Jacky Tsang learns the camera basics. // Photo by Hannah Chebeleu, Mosaic Staff Photographer.

By Aysha Rehman, Mosaic Staff Writer

I think I called almost every homeless shelter in San Jose and I haven’t gotten anyone of them to call me back except one. One. Right now I feel like I’m just biding my time until this story slips through the cracks, and honestly, I’m feeling rejected. Like maybe this won’t be as big a story as I see it.

I decided to write about the homeless when I had an important discussion with my dad oh so long ago. I had started reading quite a bit about the plight of the homeless when a series on the issue appeared on the Al Jazeera America website. Ever since then I’ve always had an interest in writing about the homeless here, in our own backyard.

My plan for now is just to plan out my questions, and wait, because if all I have is that one shelter to cover, than I hope I cover it well, because these people all have stories, and it’s about time we stopped ignoring what they have to tell us.

As I sit here wasting away waiting for a phone call, I wonder what kinds of people I’m going to talk to, or what stories they have to tell me. How they became homeless, or how they get by on a day-to-day basis. To me, it’s unimaginable how we can subject our fellow human beings to this kind of living when we ourselves remain ignorant of the fallacies of the American dream, but I digress.

Tomorrow I hope someone calls me back, and allows me access into this oft forgotten world of those we have essentially deemed “the other.” I want to see what it’s like in the shoes of those who we toss a quarter or two into charity for, those who we see at Christmas time but neglect to see in the heat of summer.

Maybe the next day will hold replies and maybe some leads to go off of, but as for now, I’m leaving a message at the tone.

Day 1 – A nice transition

Mosaic staff writer Aysha Rehman focuses on her story in the Spartan Daily newsroom. // Photo by Creo Noveno

Mosaic staff writer Aysha Rehman works on her story in the Spartan Daily newsroom.

By Aysha Rehman, Mosaic Staff

I’m going to be honest, when I first walked into that meeting room to have dinner with everyone, I was nervous. I was really nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, but I’m glad I decided to come. So far I’ve met a bright, eclectic group of people who I can relate to, and I can see that we’ve already started bonding.

Something we went over that really opened up my eyes was our discussion with David Early, a very wise journalist who recounted many a tales of his journalistic exploits. David took us all the way from the 70s to what journalism has morphed into in today’s perspective, and I’m surprised to know how much it changed. He showed us the importance of a journalist’s work, and gave me the idea that our work was a lot more impactful than I thought.

After that insightful presentation, going out for lunch with this large, fluid mass of teenagers was an interesting excursion to an otherwise work-filled day. I can honestly say that interacting with my peers was pretty fun, and I hope that I remember every minute I spend with them–including almost getting lost on our way to Subway, and then teasing the heck out of each other for an amalgam of reasons.

When we discussed stories, I thought it was interesting that the editors we were assigned to chose some of the stories that they did, but I’m glad I was directed to the most feasible story idea. I think that after discussing our stories, and coming up with a game plan, I feel really confident that I will be able to tackle the story I have in mind. It’s one about the presumably growing homelessness in San Jose, no easy topic to cover. Regardless, I feel like I have a strong team backing me, and a new group of friends that I hope will last for a long time.

Overall, the first day and half has been a nice transition into finally working on story ideas, and I can’t wait to spend more time with this group of wonderful young journalists. I feel like based on what my friends here have pitched, the end result will be great. I do look forward to the newspaper when it comes out, I hope my new friends feel the same.