As a graduating senior with plenty of college experiences under my belt, I know as well as anyone how daunting it can be to join a student organization – especially as a freshman. It’s normal to worry about keeping up with everything, from classes to social life to extracurricular endeavors. When I was starting out at UM, no one warned me what it would really be like to dedicate myself to an organization – sacrificing my time, energy and even sanity, at times.
So I’m going to give you the courtesy that no one gave me. Without further ado, here’s my step-by-step guide to surviving The Miami Hurricane.
Student media conferences
Never – and I mean never – attend one. Not only will the university absolutely insist upon paying for your flight and hotel (ugh, so demeaning), but you won’t know what to do with your time after the critiques and sessions are done for the day. Who wants to be stuck in New York City or San Francisco or Washington, D.C. with absolutely no responsibilities and all the options in the world? Not me, that’s for sure.
Do as little as possible. Don’t make the mistake of getting involved in a variety of things. We all know branching outside of our comfort zone is the absolute worst, and no one should ever do it. What if we realize we’ve been pursuing the wrong passions, or see something in a new light? Or worst of all, what if we learn something completely and utterly new? No, thank you.
Do not, under any circumstances, befriend anyone at work. If you do, you’ll end up seeing them outside of the newsroom, past the hours of the typical workday. Sure, it may seem like just a casual chat between colleagues at first, but that can easily spiral into frequent dinners out, wine nights after particularly stressful deadlines or even attending feminist lingerie art shows together. Avoid this. God forbid you make friends for life.
Using your skills
I don’t know about you, but I sure didn’t strive for a (pricey) degree at UM to use it. Why would someone earning a journalism degree actually want to pursue journalistic opportunities outside of the classroom? I’ve gotten all the information I need from those sparse PowerPoint slides with ambiguous terms and arbitrary instructions.
Honestly, maybe you shouldn’t even join at all. Terrible environment, terrible work and even more terrible coworkers. Besides, if your work is published, either online or in print, it’s there forever. Permanent. Visible to all future colleagues, employers and mentors. And who wants a post-grad legacy that badly?
Elizabeth Gelbaugh will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in communication honors – journalism.