Picking a Degree: Why Journalism was the Obvious Choice

15 04 2011

By Sam Strong (@sammstrong)

As students pile by ones and twos into the Reeve Ballroom, one thing is on their minds: picking a major. Some have come to get an idea of what UW Oshkosh has to offer, some have come to gain reassurance that they declared the right one, and some have come just to see if there’s free food. Not that those aren’t all good factors to visit a campus event, but MajorFest is one that you don’t want to miss.

Unfortunately, I have to say I’ve never visited MajorFest as an undergrad. However, I wasn’t one of the lucky few who came to college with a major and stuck with it. I actually came to UW Oshkosh thinking I would be an elementary school teacher, but quickly realized I could never manage my own classroom. I give major props to those who can. That left me undeclared and feeling like I had no direction. Now if I was up on my knowledge of events going on at Oshkosh, I would have gone to MajorFest. Unfortunately though for me, I wasn’t.

You may ask how I eventually declared a major then, since I didn’t really do any outside research? I remembered that I took an intro to journalism class my senior year in high school and I really liked it, even though my freshman English teacher told me that I would never, ever succeed in writing. Well, the joke is on her.

I decided to take a couple of intro classes, including Writing for the Media with Dr. Vince Filak, and I fell in love again. I gained a confidence I’ve never felt before in any of my work and experienced a sense of comfort that I hadn’t yet felt during my time at UWO. He also promoted working at the Advance-Titan, and I decided to try that out too. Working at the Advance-Titan gave me the courage to actually –cue drumroll- declare a journalism major. Ever since I did that, I haven’t looked back.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone will get that lucky and figure out what they want to do just by chance. Sometimes you have to go through three or four classes in a couple of different majors to actually figure out what you want to do with your life. But I think the moral here is to find something you love to do. I know everyone says that, but really, if you can wake up every day and do something you actually like, it will benefit everyone around you and yourself included.

That being said, I think MajorFest is extremely beneficial to those who aren’t as fortunate as I was in declaring a major. Most of the majors UW Oshkosh has to offer are represented at the booths set up and manned by different students and faculty from the departments. I represented the Journalism Department (Yeah!), and handed out information and answered questions for high school students who were thinking about coming to UW Oshkosh and trying to decide what they wanted to study during their time here.

It was such a great experience, I hope on both ends, and I felt like it was a learning experience for everyone involved. It reassured me that I picked the right course of study, and I was able to convince others that this is a great major to pick because of all of the options you have within the department. Journalism isn’t just writing, and I think that is one thing that needs to be emphasized. If you find yourself in that same boat of struggling with what you want to do, make sure you check out MajorFest next fall. It’s really a great experience to just see what our school has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

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