Why I Chose to Be a Journalism Major

In the spirit of being boastful, here’s an essay I had to write for my art of writing class that I’m proud of. I hope you like it!

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What do lard-lugging lunchroom ladies, fistfights by the flagpole, and grizzly bears have in common? Diddlysquat to most people. But for me, those three disparate elements come together to spark a memory from my junior year of high school, and I can’t help but think of the first time I wrote for a publication.

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that “The Grizzly Gazette,” the brainchild of my friend Arlo, never made it to print. Like most dreams which got their start in the underfunded and undernourished educational institution I was a part of, it got squashed by the always oppressive state of ambivalence, which hung in the air like a stale fart.

The Onion-esque material we wanted in our rag was mostly satiric and silly. For instance, there were stories about a cafeteria lady who uses her copy of the food code to reach the top shelves and of a proud and pimply pugilist deliberating whether or not to risk his featherweight fisticuffs title after school.

Despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise, our fabricated articles and columns weren’t exactly what the students and teachers of Alliance High School were looking for. Instead they turned to the senescent school newspaper, “The Spud,” which lacked originality and color, but made up for that in starch.

Still, even facing such a lukewarm target audience, the two of us were set on realizing our goal of producing at least one issue. In fact, just before the ultimate collapse of “The Grizzly Gazette,” we had convinced a few other reporters and columnists to join our staff, even stealing one fine writer from “The Spud,” as we pulled a page from Charles Foster Kane’s book.

Everything was looking up. The articles I turned in were my best work, and for the first time there was some proof that the craft could take me somewhere in life. With the constant stench of formaldehyde from the biology room next to my locker and an infatuation with a dozen or so female classmates weighing on my mind, the paper’s inaugural copy was something concrete, impermeable to hormones, and odorless that I could look forward to.

Then Arlo found pot.

From there “The Grizzly Gazette” died a slow, delayed-many-times-over death. Arlo came to class sparingly, and I quickly lost the determination to take on the project myself. The thought of it today still brings an irregular palpitation to my heart, both because of its nostalgia and because it never made it past the first stage.

Just this afternoon I got promoted to beat reporter at the Daily Nebraskan, a feat that deservedly got a hair-shifting fist pump. The decision I made to become a journalism major is due in large part to lunchroom ladies, pimply pugilists, and grizzly bears, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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Published in: on January 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Worker Bee

Here’s an update on the resolutions. Like the rest of America, at least one has fallen through: running three miles a week.

Today, on my first trip to class, I about beat my heart to an untimely demise biking from the 17th and R Parking Garage to Bessey Hall, a trek that shouldn’t give rise to fears of keeling over. This says two things. One, my muscles are silly putty, and two, as shown tonight in my first copy editing shift, not nearly as efficient at copy(edit)ing newspaper.

But there’s hope yet, as always. I’ll ratchet up my homemade meals to five a week to counteract the lack of running and start out slow but sure at a mile this week.

If you’ve made it here, congratulations. Although I write this for myself, you can now pat yourself on the back for sharing in the minutia of my life.

Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Nibbling Away at the New Year

(Hopefully) we’re all still on the wagon of new year’s resolutions, so I’ll make my way up to the front of the cab to make this announcement–It’s easier than you think! In no time you’ll be patting yourself on the back. Good luck and Godspeed on your own pathways to success.

In order to have my own resolutions cause tantrums any time I’m about to make my exit off the wagon, I’m going to post them here. If I slip up at all, I’ll be honest and write about whatever I didn’t achieve.

First… I will read the Bible this year. This evening, I started off on the right foot and am following the guidelines of the journal I got from my mom for Christmas. It’s a release to let everything I am thinking flow out onto the page in response to what I just read, without having to send those thoughts past the tiny standards-checking men in my mind. You know you have them too.

Second… I will make three lunches a week. A football game wedged itself into lunchtime today, so I’m already making excuses, but I haven’t doubled back on my resolution. In addition, I’d like to try out some recipes more conducive to dinner meals from time to time, but I won’t judge myself on those.

Third… I will run three miles a week. At this point that’s on the order of “a heck of a lot of work”, but in due time I’ll be Forrest Gump-ing it. If it starts getting too easy, I’ll pump up the volume.

So there you have it. If you want a soundboard to voice your resolutions, do so in the comments. It’ll help, guaranteed.

Published in: on January 2, 2009 at 5:27 am  Leave a Comment