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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.

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

So I'm graduating . . . now what?!

By Michelle Butler

March 31, 2009 | Ah, it's the moment we've all waited for. For years (in my case five excruciatingly long years), we've toiled and dedicated our life to a far-off goal. We've spent so much money, time, and perhaps even some tears on our pursuit to graduate. And now, like a slow-moving train, it's quickly bearing down on us, threatening to plow us under, a force to reckon with. At least this is how I feel!

I've waited and waited for that long-off day when I would finally be free and off into the real world. And now it's here and I won't lie, I'm a little nervous. For some time, many people would tell me just what I had to do to graduate, and I of course filed it into some deep, dark recess of my brain. Of course it's gone now that I need it. So here are a few pointers I've picked up over the years, and mostly my last few months of school.

First, everyone always told me that I had to decide on my career and then jump fully into the industry. I did this . . . three times. Yes, it's kind of lame to change your major and retake a few classes, but I must say that I will be so much happier in the long run graduating in a major I like. So, take the time you need to figure out what exactly you like and want to do.

Second, be the captain of your own destiny. You can either expect someone (such as a counselor) to keep you up to date and tell you the important stuff, or since the counselors have hundreds of other students to advise, you could just take control. Visit your counselor often and make sure you're on schedule to graduate. Bug your teachers, university staff, anyone, for the information you need and feel like you understand what's going on and what else you need to do.

The closer you get, say the final semester, pay attention to important grad announcements. Remember several hundred others are also graduating, so make sure that you are on top of things and don't wait to be told what you have to do.

As far as graduating goes, it's really important (if you don't want to pay an extra $50 to $100) that you apply to graduate the semester before. And start the process early, since it can take a few weeks to get all the important papers signed and what not.

After that, all you really have to do is sit back, do well in your classes, and attend the grad fair.

Yes, this is helpful to attend. For one thing, you can buy your cap and gown, and there's other cool stuff to check out. Mostly, it just gives you the feeling that you're one step closer to that big day.

One final word of advice: use the resources available to you. The university has awesome services that can help you get a job. There are many career fairs you can attend. The career center can help you perfect your resume and apply for jobs or internships. Don't try to do it on your own; there are people there to help who know what they are doing.

Well, now we graduate and enter the real world. Kind of makes you want to stay in school a little longer!


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