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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD

The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at


Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Five things all freshmen should consider

By Michelle Butler

April 17, 2009 | Finally my time has come. I am about to graduate and leave the school/world that I have known for the past five years. School has been good for me. Iíve grown and matured (hopefully) and learned a lot. I just felt that I needed to share some of the things that have been very beneficial to me in my time at USU.

Here are my five things that every freshman should consider:

1. Take Connections. Connections is not a required class, but it helped me in so many ways. Itís strongly encouraged for all incoming freshman to take and it really helped me as a new freshman. It starts a week before school begins and is over mid way through the semester. This was fabulous. Come mid-semester, one of your classes is already over and you have one less final to worry about. The work load is very light. Most importantly, you learn so much about campus. You go on several tours, so come school time, I never felt lost or confused. You learn a lot about policies, important information about generals, and this is where I met several of my closest friends. It really is a great introduction class that helps get your feet wet and prepares you a little better for college life. Seriously consider it. Besides, itís two of the easiest credits youíll ever take.

2. Live on/near campus. If possible, living on campus your first or second year is a great thing. Being a local, my first semester I lived at home and really felt alone. Most of my high school friends were gone and it was hard making new friends. Living on campus instantly gets you involved in the social scene. You get to know your roommates and neighbors very quickly and you always know what activities are going on. You can still make awesome friends and be involved without living on campus, but it does tend to jump start your social network.

3. Join a club. USU has dozens of clubs. Thereís everything from swing dance to a long boarding club. Clubs are awesome to join because it gets you involved and any extracurricular activity looks awesome on a resume. Besides, we all need a small break from studying. Clubs can also lead to other more prestigious roles. Itís all about networking and getting to know people on campus. I joined the Alumni association. This was a great club to be in. There are several activities and you get to network with alumni, which can someday lead to a job. Also, check out intramurals. There are tons of intramural teams you join and these are usually only five dollars to be on. I wished that I had gotten into intramural sports sooner. Check out a club or two, and if there isnít one you like, start up your own!

4. Take Geology of the Worldís Oceans. This is a class I took my junior year. If fulfills one of your depth science credits and itís a really fun class to take. I learned a lot of cool things and it was really interesting. You have to fulfill you depth requirements eventually, and this was a pretty easy class. The lectures are interesting. You learn a lot about the oceans and the animals in them. I actually learned a lot from this class and enjoyed it.

5. Relax and have fun! Far too often during my college experience, I stressed over little things and felt like my life was ruined. Just have fun. College will be over before you realize it and in the end, you really only remember the fun parts. Go and hang out. Some of the people you meet in college will be some of your dearest friends later in life. Enjoy the college experience. At no other time in your life will you be as independent and with fewer responsibilities (such as a mortgage payment). This is a great time to really grow and enjoy life. Campus life has endless opportunities to play and get involved. Just remember to enjoy it before itís over and you have to face the real world.


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