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It was a blazing hot Wednesday, and I was wearing the brand-new, super-cute shoes I bought with the last of my graduation money. As I walked around more than 160 clubs tabling at Club Day, I gleefully wrote my new Xavier email on almost every sign-up sheet there was, only to subsequently never attend a bird watching club meeting a day in my life. Surrounded by so many options, one stuck out to me. I’ve always loved to write but didn’t have the support backing me in high school when I attempted to start a newspaper. But college would be different! I could publish my radical ideals on a public platform and be heard! Isn’t that every young liberal’s idea of a good time?
The advice given during Manresa will save you much heartache, but only if you abide by it. The “Rule of 3,” a phrase used to describe the ideal club involvement for first-years, suggests that you join one club from each of the categories of something you’ve done before, something new and something related to your major. Given my excitable temperament, I went to every table at both club days and have since remained in 11 clubs. That’s right, 11, and so long as I write an article about it, I’m getting paid for it!
My choice to write for the Xavier Newswire was, admittedly, largely informed by the fact that it was the one club who mentioned the four letter word I was seeking out. Cash. I love so many things with such fervent commitment that it is difficult to decide where to spend my time, but this decision becomes infinitely easier for a first-year when they hear they can make some money. Mom and dad are no longer a piggy bank, and you’re on your own if you want the luxury of eating something other than caf food. Newswire offers flexible hours and is a low time commitment way to make money. Some weeks I write three articles, and some weeks I write none. Aside from the bragging rights and upward mobility, many of the rewards of writing come inherently from the non-monetary benefits of writing itself.
Words are powerful. They can inform, excite, persuade and help others to feel empathy. Writing for your school newspaper allows you the opportunity to do this not only for your peers, but for the higher-ups of our beloved university. Legend has it that Fr. Graham reads the Newswire every Wednesday. The role of the press in freedom is one which is widely debated in our current political arena, but writing for my local paper allows me to keep my corner of the world accountable and informed. As a first-year, this is a great way to practice being For and With Others.
By making your words and opinions public, you allow for far more growth. Critique or rejection are crippling for many, but as a writer you learn to own where you stand while being open to others’ ideas, something I believe is essential and is missing in today’s world.
The benefits don’t stop on your resume. First semester I wrote a series called “A White Girl’s Guide to Privilege.” I started with Dr. Taj Smith, director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and subsequently connected with faculty and staff from a broad range of origins and positions, none of which were exclusively professors. I’ve also been assigned events and talks and write alongside people with majors I likely wouldn’t have interacted with if it weren’t for Newswire. Furthermore, interviewing others helps prepare you to listen to the stories of new peers and how to best tell your own, whether in a professional or personal setting.
Most of all, writing is fun and fulfilling, and what more could you ask out of life? Self-expression is important to college students because this stage of life is all about deciding who we are and what we believe, and sharing that with others is a powerful and beautiful manifestation of our unique contribution to the world.
Brittany Wells is a first-year Montessori education major and staff writer for the Newswire from Cincinnati.