Trying New Things (Three Times Over)

This passion blog has been a long time coming.  My passion blog for this week is actually a collection of new things I tried in the past couple weeks.  Two of the new things I tried were for The Daily Collegian, meaning that they were career oriented, and the other new thing I tried I tried was just kind of random.

For my article this week, I decided to try something new.  Instead of writing a typical Thanksgiving article, where I would only need to interview three sources and cover a small topic, I decided to write a Thanksgiving feature.  Feature articles are longer, more all-encompassing news articles in which you interview more people and go more in depth than a normal article.

For the article, I interviewed three professors and two students about their Thanksgiving traditions.  Their responses ended up being really cute, ranging anywhere from picking blueberries to make blueberry pie to visiting Harry Potter World.

I immediately got going, eager to start my interviews since I would need to do five in one week.  I interviewed the BiSci professor during his office hours and talked to him about how he harvests fresh vegetables and sings classic American folksongs for Thanksgiving.

Next, I talked to Professor Wooten about how he travels with his wife for Thanksgiving every year because she’s from Thailand and he’s from Texas and they don’t have any family in the area.

Then I interviewed two students and learned about their traditions of integrating Japanese food into the typical Thanksgiving spread and picking blueberries in Northern Maine.

Finally, I interviewed a communications professor and he told me about how he invites students that don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving over to his house to eat dinner with him and his family.

The second new thing I tried was having a photoshoot.  The Daily Collegian has a whole photography department and, up until this point, I have never been present for the photography aspect of publishing the daily paper, but this past Tuesday I was.

After the interviews, one of the photographers for the Collegian had me set up a time and a place to do a photoshoot.  Then I had to get the two students, who had kindly agreed to have their photos taken, props that matched up with their traditions.  I bought blueberries and rice from Maclanahan’s and showed up to the photo shoot the next day.

After introducing the photographer to the two students, I didn’t do muchelse.  I gave my opinions on a couple of different shots when asked and the photoshoot ended up going really well, adding the perfect visual aspect to my article.

Lastly, I tried eating at a new place within Redifer dining hall.  I eat at Redifer every single day, but often find myself getting the same things.  I eat sushi, chicken fingers or a salad for lunch on any given day.  In the spirit of trying new things, I tried eating at the Mexican restaurant within Redifer and, just like how every other risk I’ve taken for this blog has gone, the results were great.  I got a burrito bowl and it was really good and now I have a new lunch place to visit.

Trying new things = success.


Trying New Things, Writing News Articles…

As a journalism major, writing for the fourth best college newspaper in the country is an opportunity that I simply could not pass up.  Penn State’s student run paper, The Daily Collegian, has always been highly regarded for the content it produces, but this past year was also given the spot between Columbia’s and Cornell’s papers when compared to all other college newspapers, according to the Princeton Review.

In order to make it onto staff for The Daily Collegian, you have to take a test.  At this stage you are an applicant and you are among over a hundred other Penn State students.  If you score high enough on the written exam, which consists of current events and ethics questions as well as being able to take a list of facts and craft a new article out of it in proper AP style, then you get the opportunity to book an interview.  If, after interviewing with one of the editors, you do well enough, then you are given the opportunity to become a candidate for The Daily Collegian – that’s when the fun starts.

Not only are you required to go to weekly meetings for training, which covers ever topic a journalist could ever possibly need to know, but you are also required to go to weekly meetings for your beat (section of the newspaper – news, sports or features and culture).  On top of walking all the way into town for these meetings twice a week, candidates must also complete twitter challenges every time Trudi (our news editor) gives them out, review articles via email or twitter, be an active supporter of The Daily Collegian’s twitter page, shadow our chief editor, multimedia editor and copyright editor for 2 hours each and complete paper pass outs.

Being a candidate for The Daily Collegian is a full-time job in and of itself, but so far I’m loving every minute of it.  Candidates must also have at least 2 stories published by October 20th and at least 4 stories published by December 1st.  Luckily, I made the cut so far and I have been published both in the actual paper and online.

My first story was actually an idea I came up with myself.  I thought it would be fun to debunk popular Penn State myths and rumors.  It was pretty easy to find a couple rumors and then from there I just had to start reaching out to people to get some quotes for each statement I was making.  You need at least 3 sources for something to be a legitimate article, but I wanted to do at least one interview for each rumor I was debunking.  For me, the best part about being a journalist is being able to meet new people that you never would’ve talked to before and learn new things.

In short, while writing this article I learned that sororities can have houses without being considered brothels, Berkey Creamery ice cream is totally FDA approved, if a student gets hit by a CATA bus then they don’t get their tuition paid for and, according to the President of Penn State’s Paranormal Research Society, the ghost of Atherton probably doesn’t haunt campus.  Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better “new thing” to try for my blog than writing for The Daily Collegian and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to do so.

Here’s the link if you want to check out my first article:

Or my second:

Trying New Things, Finding New Art…

In another attempt to try new things, Kyle and I travelled all the way to the North side of campus to the Palmer Art Museum.  Unfortunately, Palmer is closed on Mondays and we walked all the way over there for nothing.  Tuesday, we walked over to Palmer again.  We were invited into the big building by the paws of a nittany lion and were excited to actually make it into the building this time.


Living only an hour from New York City for my entire life, I have been to a fair share of art museums.  My favorite art museum is the Met.  In my opinion, the Met has the perfect ratio of modern and classical art.  The Met collects pieces from Renaissance artists like Michelangelo to surrealists like Salvador Dali and basically anything in between.  My favorite exhibit at the Met is the one displaying Claude Monet’s waterlily paintings.  It’s sad, but also fascinating to watch the blearily painted pictures get even hazier as Monet neared the end of his life and began to lose his sight.

I’ve also visited the Museum of Modern Art.  Although, modern art isn’t my favorite, this museum has quite a few standout pieces.  Covering artists from Andy Warhol to Van Gogh is very impressive, especially because the museum boasts itself as a modern art museum.  MOMA even showcases Van Gogh’s starry night, a favorite of any art enthusiast.

Having visited these two amazing art museums, I honestly had very low expectations for the Palmer Art Museum.  I know that sounds bad coming from someone who loves trying new things so much, but I just couldn’t see how a college art museum could be anywhere near as nice as New York City’s finest art galleries.

I am happy to report that I stand corrected.  Penn State’s art museum, as with most features at University Park, was really impressive!  I loved the contrast between pieces.  The art ranged from classic to modern, just like in the Met or MOMA and there was also a huge variety of mediums and art forms.  Inside the drawers of one of the galleries are a collection of charcoal sketches on paper.  The walls are filled with beautiful paintings.  Tables are decorated with glass blown pieces and clay pots.  Even outside the doors of the Palmer Art Museum is an entire sculpture garden filled with abstract and thought-provoking pieces.

All in all I am again so happy that I go to a school that provides me with so many new and exciting opportunities.  Visiting the art museum right here on campus gave me the chance to escape the worries of everyday life and do something a little bit less mundane.  Appreciating art helps you to appreciate life because it reminds you to look for beautiful things all around you.  Walking back from Palmer, I was even more grateful than usual to be at a college as beautiful as Penn State.

Not to mention, this experience made me realize that Kyle has an uncanny knack for mimicking artwork which could be a cool party trick.



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.