As a convergence journalism major, I get to take classes to learn very specific skills. Classes like “how to write a column 30 minutes before deadline” or “how to stalk sources that refuse to respond to your emails.”
Actually, we are not taught those things in class. In class, I learn technical things like where to put commas or the difference between libel and slander.
I learn a lot in the classroom, but I learn more in the newsroom. Those practical skills, like “how to respond to angry readers,” or “how to respond to angry co-workers,” aren’t in any of my textbooks. They are learned on the fly – in the midst of a deadline.
In many subjects of study, learning is more tangible on the job than in the classroom. Even the job of being a parent””parents can read an outrageous number of baby books and blogs, but they still won’t really feel ready to be a parent until they actually have a child.
I was never taught in class how to be the editor of a student newspaper, but when I accepted this job, I started learning immediately. Many similar opportunities lie all over our campus.
The Department of Agriculture has an actual farm students can go sweat on. The advertising and public relations students have a real agency on campus where they can deal with picky clients. COBA has an entrepreneurial incubator on campus in which students can feel the financial squeeze of a start-up.
I could go on. Even in what seem to be the most textbook based subjects like English or political science, endeavors are offered like the campus literary magazine that English majors publish every spring, or the debate team that gets to travel all over the country.
These are opportunities that are just as educational, if not more, than sitting in a classroom. We learn lots of practical skills at our off-campus jobs or during our summer internships. But participating in on-campus opportunities alongside our professors and our classmates maximize the amount of neurons firing and the educational benefit.
If you aren’t already taking advantage of extracurricular opportunities that ACU offers, its not too late to join in. It’s refreshing to find something that engages you outside of the classroom and, additionally, doesn’t have a weight pulling on your GPA.