Join The Point News… or something

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. I know this won’t be published until Thursday and you probably won’t read this until the next time you eat crabs and need something to cover your table with… but today I officially became a college senior. Seems fitting that today I should pass on the advice seniors before me passed on.
The advice: Do Something.

Three years ago on the first Monday of the school year, I wandered into the Club Room at the Campus Center at eight o’clock in the evening to find a room full of writers, photographers, and editors. I could have stayed in my room that night or hung out with friends but instead I chose to try something new and as Frost said, “…it has made all the difference.”

The Point News became my home for the tenure of my college career. I like to think I will leave The Point News in better shape than I found it (like our sweet website, and much more importantly, The Point News helped me grow as a student, citizen and person.

As a student, I learned the invaluable skill of producing a paper the night before deadline. A 20 page (8.5 by 11 inch) political science paper is nothing compared to a 12 page (broadsheet) newspaper. My writing and editing skills will serve me well no matter the career path I choose.

As a citizen, I became a sophisticated interpreter of the news. We all know Fox and MSNBC lack balance but it takes time writing and editing news articles to really understand when a journalist cuts corners and why. In the era of Tweets, blogs, and noise, nothing is more important than understanding the information presented to you.

As a person, I gained a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be. I love journalism and I wish more people obeyed the golden standards of journalistic ethics to be truly fair and balanced but I also realized that I am not one of them. I often want to be biased and argue for a particular outcome. In discovering this about myself, I solidified my hope to better the world through politics (if that’s not too cliche/impossible).

These are skills and realizations you just don’t get by going to class, doing homework and going to the Door (even for P&P). Engage with something larger than yourself and I guarantee you’ll learn something new about yourself.

The Point News is awesome (we really are, I promise — again Mondays at 8 in the Club Room) but take your pick. The Student Government Association sponsors a Club Fair every semester (Friday, Sept. 2) where 30-50 clubs representing a plethora of interests, hobbies, and causes seek new members. The SGA also spends your money printing this paper, buying seeds for the Campus Farm, helping the Equestrian Club ride, and hundreds of others follow their passions.

As I scratch away at my SMP and help The Point News prepare for its latest venture, The Dove Yearbook, I also have an eye towards next year and beyond. The truth is never again, no matter what I do, will I have the same opportunities to engage in so many different things as I do here.

Only during college can you plan a protest with the St. Mary’s Environmental Action Coalition in the morning, play frisbee with the St. Mary’s Ultimate Team mid-day, host a radio show with the Hawk Radio in the afternoon, and end the day at the Tolkien Society’s annual dance — all while making friends and following your passion or maybe finding a new one.

First-years: Don’t wait. I know the argument, I want to get settled, make friends and figure out where the Great Room is before I get involved but four years goes by a lot faster than you can even fathom now.

Fellow Seniors: It’s not too late. We have a year left – let’s try some new things while we still can.

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