Get involved in something, anything

Here it is, the last week of The Oswegonian. If you read this paper weekly, my name and picture should be somewhat of a new thing. Who is this Carly Karas? Has she actually written anything this year? Where is she in my journalism classes?

The reason I’m not in your classes is because that’s just it: I don’t take journalism classes. I’m not a journalism major, and the prospect has never even tempted me. This time last year I was barely paying attention to the news, unaware of anything that happened outside of “The Daily Show,” just going through my graphic design courses and being a pretty regular student. I’m pretty sure I would have been one of those Vox Pop “I don’t know what’s going on, sorry,” answers.

I’ve been here, however; you’ve probably seen me hunched over a computer in the office, it’s the one right in the center. One professor of mine described the look as “being trapped in a fish bowl.” When I tell people what I do, they usually look at me like I’m out of my mind, or that I got the wrong job. Don’t get me wrong, I probably could have been the Creative Director just as well, but there was just something about Opinion I couldn’t pass up.

Last year I was actually working at The Oswegonian, only in the much less prominent position of assistant to the Web Director. I would come in once a week and put all the articles up on the web, lamenting at the typos nobody caught and laughing at some of the more ridiculous ones. When the time for applications went in, I believed I could take the position and do it well. I could be passionate about issues; indeed many of the feminist and humanist Staff Editorials were my doing. To my surprise I got the job, realized I actually knew InDesign enough to do it, and jumped right in to the world of journalism.

When I look back at all the work I’ve accomplished as a senior, it feels like I’ve been sitting on my hands for the past three years. I plunged into something completely new and it took me so far, professionally and socially. As much as I might have complained about late nights and missed deadlines I would never have traded this position for anything. I have met some of the best friends I think I will ever have here at the paper. I have been on top of national and international issues and became incredibly frustrated that some students did not know about these topics that ultimately affected all of us.

At the end of junior year I might have been better than average in my field, but I would have been just another fish in the pond. This year I had the support of a house of crazy, wonderful people, fellow staff members and some amazing professors. They helped me to push myself into all-nighters to finish my work – and apparently I write best at 6 a.m. – and to get out there professionally.

What I have to tell you is what I know all the rest of us here at The Oswegonian will say: get yourself involved in something. Campus organizations are always willing and welcoming and there’s guaranteed to be someone that also wants to do what you want to do. There’s a very good reason we’re all saying it, and it isn’t to get you all into the office. It’s because up until The Oswegonian quite a few of us might not have been much different than anyone else in our respective majors. We wouldn’t have stood out and we wouldn’t have tried to stand forward in our professors’ and peers’ eyes. Don’t just blend into the background; it is all too easy to. I coasted through three years’ worth of classes and felt tired; this year, I wondered what I used to do with all my free time, and didn’t really miss it all too much. Involvement took precedence over being the lazy bum I used to be (although lazy bumminess still definitely occurs) and gave me the best gifts that I think college could ever give me.

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