CV2You’ve probably read Huffington Post’s listicles before, but did you know that Nueva’s very own Colton Valentine ’08 wrote some this summer? Colton interned for HuffPost’s Arts & Culture section writing artist interviews and reviews of newly released novels, movies, and exhibits. He also managed social media and participated in writing workshops and staff meetings.

Though his overall HuffPost internship experience was terrific, Colton did have a rough start to the summer. During his first artist interview, Colton forgot to turn on the recorder to capture his conversation with Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist.

“Eliasson was absolutely brilliant, so earnest and kind-hearted,” said Colton. “I was beaming by the time I got off the phone and just couldn't believe I'd been given the chance to talk to him, for so long, as an intern.”

Colton had been given only 15 minutes to talk to Eliasson and so had practiced the interview several times beforehand. When the interview time arrived, however, technical difficulties arose with the international call, and recording slipped his mind as he began what turned into a 30-minute interview.

“I came really close to crying in the office and felt just so awful, like I had betrayed this gift of an interview and the trust that had been invested in me,” Colton remembers.

So he began earnestly writing everything he could remember from the conversation and was able to compose a decent article. When he told his co-workers what happened, they all chimed in with their first interview-gone-wrong memories.

“I guess [the lesson is] to let yourself cry a bit in the office but then to recognize that action solves things, not self-pity. And that when you share those moments of struggle with others, you realize it's actually quite common.”

The rest of Colton’s internship went much more smoothly, with articles about David Foster Wallace, Frida Kahlo, and Andy Warhol, to name just a few from his prolific summer. His most widely read piece was “The 9 People You'll Date, According to Simone De Beauvoir,” which received more than 200,000 views and was a highlight of Colton’s time at HuffPost. For him the article embodied the accomplishment of one of his summer goals — writing about esoteric topics (which he loves to read in college) in a way that appeals to a wide variety of people.

“It was such a validating moment to feel that I'd been able to ‘translate’ French existential philosophy into a form that would get that kind of readership — and to feel that by using that form I'd maybe changed the way some people thought about the world,” said Colton.

The love of abstruse reading material is just one of the effects of Colton’s Nueva education. He finds many of his college classmates are surprisingly disillusioned about their classes and their coursework, seeing it all only as a tedious to-do list on the way out of school.

“The thing that distinguishes my Nueva friends from other students in college is that we authentically enjoy our classes and take pleasure in [them], which is basically the most important quality to have in the world, since it lets you see your experiences every day as these bountiful pools of meaning instead of hum-drum boredom,” Colton said. “[Our classes and reading] are these precious jewels that we worked so hard for 18 years to have access to. So the most important thing Nueva gave me was a lens that lets me relish the world each day.”

Other fond memories include early morning meditation with Buddhist monks during the 8th grade Japan trip, learning a dance to “Eureka!” from PE teacher Glen Lee, and working with his classmates to write the script and lyrics of the fourth-grade play. Colton still listens to the soundtrack — “it was brilliant!”

“Communal singing is something I really associate with Nueva, and while it was good that I realized later I had no talent, it was wonderful that the community believed so strongly that everyone's voice could contribute to the whole.”

Social-emotional learning was another key force in Colton’s life because he admits he was not a project collaborator or even able to socially interact prior to attending Nueva.

“And ten years later all I seem to do is mediate collaborations and social diplomacy. SEL is incredible.”

Colton resumes his undergraduate studies at Harvard this fall for his senior year.



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