Trying New Things, Hearing New People…

In the spirit of trying new things, I thought it’d be cool to hear some new opinions.  Listening to speeches can create an eye-opening experience without even having to leave campus.  Penn State hosts countless guest speakers during any given week so it wasn’t too hard to find one.  In Carnegie this past Wednesday, there was a free public lecture by Roy Harris, author of “Pulitzer’s Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism”.  The event was co-sponsored by Department of Journalism and University Libraries and seemed like the perfect lecture for a journalism major to attend.  “Pulitzer’s Gold” focuses on the long and interesting history of the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.  The prize, which recognizes some of the media’s greatest achievements, is awarded annually to a news organization rather than to individuals, and takes the form of the Joseph Pulitzer Gold Medal.

It was really cool to learn more about this award that goes to an entire news organization rather than the typical Pulitzer that only one journalist can win.  I also really liked being able to hear about the history of journalism, something that I hadn’t thought about too much before this point.  Usually when you think about awards for these kinds of things you imagine one person taking home the prize, but I think it’s really cool to think about writing as a team activity.  Collaboration of thoughts amongst writers can be very beneficial to the writing process and to the pieces being written.  This idea of collaboration within the writing process reminded me a lot of our RCL and passion blogs because commenting on our peers’ work almost allows for the same kind of partnership that this team award suggests.  Feedback from other writers can really improve a piece of writing drastically in the same way that getting thoughtful and constructive blog comments can help us to write better in upcoming blog posts.

All in all, I really liked listening to Mr. Harris speak.  He knew the journalism industry very well and, being that that is one of the industries I’m strongly considering going into in the future, I really liked hearing his thoughts on journalism today.  I really appreciated his claim that the journalism from and about our country provides a brilliant portrait of America.  All too often, I feel like journalism is overlooked and not appreciated for how well it paints a picture of America as a whole.  This experience allowed me to realize how much I love to just sit and listen for a little while, too.  Listening to a guest speaker allows you to follow what they’re saying and drift somewhere else mentally.  It’s almost like traveling without having to move from your seat.  He talked a lot about how he worked for The Wall Street Journal for 23 years and as senior editor of CFO Magazine for 13 years.  Harris also served as the national president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors, which was very cool to me especially because I plan on double majoring between marketing and journalism.

Hello Penn State, Goodbye Comfort Zone (Passion Blog 1)

As everyone’s favorite mid 20th century Indian novelist, Anita Desai, once said, “wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow”.  Although I’m not exactly sure when I first heard this quote, it has always stuck with me. I have always loved traveling. The idea of submerging myself into new places or cultures has always been very exciting to me.  I can’t imagine anything that I am more passionate about than trying new things.  I love the feeling that comes with it and the fact that it is something I will be able to continue doing for the rest of my life.  Similar to how conflict photographer Linsey Addario feels when she is taking photographs, I feel alive when I’m doing something, meeting someone or going somewhere new.

Interestingly enough, I was born and raised in a town of just over 2,000 people.  There was never that much room for news experiences in Carmel, but I may do with what I had around me.  Adapting, I soon learned, is a very fun way to make something new out of nothing.  Even though I had already known everyone in my grade since elementary school, I made friends with students in other grades that I was less familiar with.  Carmel didn’t have all too many places to eat so it was hard to find new restaurants, but I could always try a new dish at some of my old favorites.  Against all odds, I made finding new experiences work.

One of the main reasons I was drawn to Penn State, even as a New Yorker, was the size.  With a big school comes some pretty big opportunities.  I love how diverse the student body at University Park is.  Another thing I love about Penn State is the town of State College.  I know that in my endeavors to find new things I will probably end up in State College for a lot of my blog posts.  Living in Atherton gives me the opportunity to leave the grand front doors of the Schreyer Honors College and immediately find myself leaving campus.  Traveling from the known to the unknown is what trying new things is all about.

The fun part about my blog is that “trying new things” is a very broad premise.  If I want to travel into State College and try a new place to eat then the obligation of writing a blog post encourages me to do so.  If I want to introduce myself to someone at random, my blog suggests I do so.  If I want to join a completely random club just because I wouldn’t have been able to do so back in Carmel, New York then my blog supports my random whims.  Essentially, I chose this premise for my blog so that I could ensure that I am making the most out of all the new and stimulating experiences Penn State has to offer and I’m really excited to leave the comfort zone that living in a small town my whole life has forced onto me.