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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

One last word of advice before I graduate -- the best education happens outside your classroom

By Sarah Reale

Decmeber 12, 2006 | "I like what you do, when you do, what you do, you make me want to shoop," Chelsea sings as she does a hip thrusting movement in her chair as she attempts to finish her paper. "Wait ,this isn't just apple juice concentrate, this is Chinese apple juice concentrate," she says in the middle of the Salt n Peppa song as she holds up the beverage we purchased at the cute grocery store down the street because we were tired of doing homework. College life is the best.

It's three hours later, and both of my roommates are sitting in the TV room, laptops in hand, surfing the Web and watching The Bachelor. "I just found the cutest coat on ," I say.

"Really, what is it? Have you seen (insert boys name here)'s Myspace comment from (insert girls name here)?" Liz replies.

We are talking in a series of random close-ended comments. "Pause The Bachelor, you guys have to hear this song," Emily says.

We all nod and I pause the TV. Whoever said college was just to your classes, they had it all wrong. College is more than sitting in class and learning about the correct way to pitch a public relations campaign to a client; it is about the experience. The scary truth is I have learned more outside of the classroom in the last four years than sitting at my desk.

When I stood in front of Richter7 public relations hot shots it wasn't a professor that had taught me to dress professionally, it was my sorority. It wasn't a class I took that told me how to use Adobe InDesign and create the mock up of a brochure (although I could have taken one), it was my job as student coordinator on the A-Team. And it wasn't a professor that taught me how to lead my group to a successful campaign, it was the numerous leadership opportunities I took advantage of in college.

The reality is, there are things you just can't learn in the classroom. No matter the professor's degree, the years experience, and the devotion, they can't teach you everything. It is up to the student to leave with a college degree and the skills to survive.

Professors are more like a supporting wall that help you through college. They can push you to think out of the box (writing this paper for example), and they can give you the basic knowledge of your degree, which is key to making it but you can't survive on just the supporting wall. You need experience.

Every year I tell the new students, "Get involved. I don't care if it is joining the chemistry club, joining a sorority, or writing for the school newspaper. Do something while you are here because the opportunities are endless."

It's the truth. There are over 200 clubs and organizations at USU, and if there isn't one here for you, start your own. There is no excuse not to get involved. Once you get involved, opportunities will start flying at your face faster than your kung fu skills can react. I traveled to Texas for the Chi Omega National Convention, did media relations for a NASA rocket launch, led 30 new students at Bear Lake for a week, was president of the Ugly Dancing Club, hosted the Mr. and Ms. International pageant, was the "megaphone" girl at True Aggie Nights, and much more.

I'm not trying to brag. I am just trying to prove to you that there is plenty to get involved in, and with each experience I grew and learned that much more.

Even though I am scared to death to leave Utah State, I feel prepared. I know I complain almost every day about the computers in the JCOM department, how ASUSU is a monopoly, and how they closed the Carousel Square, but I love everything about this fine institution.

As I filled out my graduation papers a couple of weeks ago and I took the survey about how I felt my experience was at Utah State, I couldn't help but give the best marks for all the offices on campus. There were times when I wanted to kill the Registration office because they made me walk up one flight of stairs to get something signed, but they really try their best to make sure the students get the help they need.

To each negative note I can find a good one. I have gotten my fair share of parking tickets, but there is no college campus in America you can get a parking pass for $18 a year. They might be raising tuition, but at least it is the lowest raise out of all the schools in the state, and it is still cheaper than my in-state tuition in Colorado.

There is nowhere else you can find an excuse to kiss someone on a cement block, do the actions of milking a cow with thousands of other students, go skiing and to class in one day, and walk across acres of green space on campus.

College life is the best, but it is the bestest at Utah State. Yes, the bestest.


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