By Kara Vande Brink in College Days, Student Life on March 31, 2022
College Day’s staff writer and layout designer shares her experience of being a part of the student newspaper at Ripon College
As course registration is in full swing, I would like to share with you why I think you should add IDS 213: Journalism Workshop to your list of classes for the fall 2022 semester. I joined the College Days in the fall of 2021, and it has been one of the most valuable experiences I have had at Ripon College. Although there are more than five reasons why I think you should join our staff, I condensed the list to five main reasons you should at least consider joining our staff.
1. You learn a lot about what is happening on campus.
Whether you realize it or not, there is always something happening on campus. At the beginning of every staff meeting, our staff discusses what is currently happening on campus and upcoming events. Before being involved in these discussions, I never realized how much I was missing out on. If you are like me and keep your daily schedule busy, then it can be easy to be unaware of what is happening around you. These meetings are an opportunity to learn what is happening throughout campus, and we occasionally learn about the next big story on campus, before everyone else, so we can share the news with other students.
2. You do not have to be a great writer (or even enjoy writing) to join the staff.
I originally joined the College Days to be a writer because I enjoyed writing, but I learned that I love layout design more than writing. Before joining the staff, I did not realize how many different roles there were in the newspaper process. The ideal newspaper staff consists of writers, an editor-in-chief, an assistant to the editor, a photographer, a layout team, and a social media manager along with our advisor, so even if you do not want to write, there are several other ways you can be involved in the College Days. The more people we have on staff, the more individuals have the opportunity to specialize in specific areas. For example, I personally struggle with taking photos to go along with my stories, so it is relieving to have someone else take photos for the stories. We are currently looking to add more writers, a photographer, layout team members, website designers, and anyone else that can help make our staff stronger.
3. You are given the opportunity to learn and apply new skills.
When I joined the College Day’s staff, they were looking for someone to take over the print edition creation and design, so I gave it a shot. I had zero experience with Adobe InDesign, but I love learning new things. I spent a lot of time learning how to use the program on my own and from the advisor of the College Days. After I learned how to use the program, I was able to apply my new skill to create the first print edition since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While learning how to format a magazine, I also learned how to write and edit stories for the College Days. I had minimal experience in writing journalism, so I learned a lot about condensing my language, word choice, and story format from my own personal experience writing stories for the College Days and editing the stories being published in the print edition. If you want to learn a new skill or enhance your current skills, our staff offers multiple opportunities for you to do that. The skills you learn on staff are also excellent to add to your resume, which is another perk of being on staff.
4. You are given the opportunity to work with other students you normally would not work with.
Our staff has a wide range of academic disciples we are majoring in and minoring in. Since I am a Psychology major and a Business Management minor, I typically do not have a lot of classes with English students, Politics and Government students, Spanish students, and other students in different academic disciplines than I am in. The College Days has given me the opportunity to get to know and collaborate with students in all of these different academic disciplines. I find this a valuable experience because I do not get the opportunity to do this very often, especially since I have finished the Catalyst program. Being able to work with people that think differently than you do is an excellent experience and an important skill to have for life beyond Ripon College.
Our staff also ranges from freshmen to seniors, which has had a lot of benefits for us. Since we have a wide range of staff members, we are given the opportunity to gain multiple perspectives on what is happening on campus and how different students are reacting to what is happening. Our staff does have more junior and senior staff members, so we are especially looking to add some more freshmen and sophomores to our staff. Joining as a younger student on campus also gives you an opportunity to know some upperclassmen on campus, so you can learn and gain advice from them.
5. You get course credit for being in a club.
An incentive, like a course credit, is what it took for me to join the staff. I am graduating a semester early, so when I was scheduling for classes, I was always looking for a few extra credits to add to each semester. Typically, I had to take whatever 1 or 2 credit classes the college offered regardless if I was interested in them. My former roommate and College Days’ assistant-to-the-editor, Madelyn Kohn, told me about her positive experience on the College Days staff and told me to join since I needed another credit. I decided to give it a chance and I really enjoyed it. The extra credits I have and will be receiving from being an active staff member are contributing to my goal of graduating early while being able to enjoy it.
If you have any questions about what it is like to be a part of the College Days staff, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].