One of the first things you’ll realize as soon as you move in to college and start taking classes is that a typical weekday in college is very different from a typical weekday in high school. Instead of sitting in classrooms in one building for seven hours, you’re usually only in class for two or three hours a day, often with large breaks in between. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not busy with extracurriculars, studying, and a social life. Here is what my day looked like on Monday, October 2, 2017, as a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism.
My Monday started with a 7:15 alarm so I could get to my 8 a.m. class on time. Admittedly, I snoozed my alarm until 7:35 (one of the benefits of living on campus). Although the high temperature that day was in the low 70s, the morning started off cold for my bike ride to class.
My first class of the day was COMM 260, an introductory news writing course required for all journalism and public relations majors. Taking this class at 8 a.m. was certainly not my first choice, but since I enjoy what I learn in this class I have no problem staying awake and focused. In a typical class, the instructor has us do some practice using AP Style (using the AP Stylebook, of course) followed by an in-class writing assignment. There are only about 20 people enrolled in my class. On Monday, we learned about how to cover speeches, using Joe Paterno’s eulogy as an example.
Following my first class, I had a meeting with my adviser to make an academic plan for the rest of my time at Penn State. Even with two minors in Political Science and Education Policy Studies, I learned that I’m still on track for a light senior year, including one semester where I only need to take 10.5 credits (I’m currently taking 17 credits, two of which are an internship. The other credits come from five three-credit classes). I also learned that I still have to take one more math class, even though I thought I was done with that requirement. (Side note: this is why it’s important to meet with your adviser at least once a semester!) I also officially declared broadcast journalism as my major in LionPath.
After tragically learning about my math-filled fate, I went back to my dorm room. I live in Chace Hall, one of the renovated dorms located in the South Halls housing area. I love the location of my dorm, which is only a block from downtown and a five minute walk to numerous dining halls, classrooms, a gym, and the HUB (a popular study and meeting spot). It also has a great view of Mount Nittany (okay, I took the picture from the end of my hallway, but it’s close enough).
After studying and eating lunch (leftover Chipotle from the night before), I was off to my second and last class of the day: EdPsych14. This class is a required introductory class for all Education majors and minors, and it focuses on the use of psychology in the classroom. There are about 300 people in this class, and the professor pauses many times throughout the class to let us discuss concepts with the people sitting around us.
With classes over for the day, I headed out to Innovation Park, home of the Bellisario College of Communications broadcast, telecommunications, and film facilities. Innovation Park is located about two miles from main campus, but it’s easily accessed using the Red Link, a free bus that runs from campus to IP (as us in the College of Comm like to call it). I started giving tours of IP over the summer, and on Monday I gave my first tour of the fall semester to a prospective film student. The tour includes stops in classrooms, computer labs, recording studios, and TV and film studios. I love giving tours and talking to incoming students; I remember being in their shoes just two years ago when I was looking at colleges.
After the tour was over, it still wasn’t time for me to leave Innovation Park. On Mondays, I produce the newscast for CommRadio, the Bellisario College of Communication’s student-run radio station. CommRadio produces full newscasts at 6 p.m. every weeknight, covering the latest in both local and world news, sports, and entertainment, along with special features on student opinions and special events on campus. Although I’m only involved with the news portion, CommRadio also does play-by-play for some of Penn State’s 31 NCAA Division 1 sports teams, as well as talk shows for every interest you can think of. As producer, I help my newscast team edit audio and find stories, and then make sure things run smoothly as we broadcast the news live at psucommradio.com.
After the newscast was over, it was time to head back to campus. I got off the bus at East Halls and went to East Commons to grab a roast beef panini before heading off to yet another meeting. Dining commons are located in every housing area, so no matter where you are on campus you can find a place to grab food using your meal plan. After getting this panini, I walked at a brisk pace/jogged across campus to the HUB, where my Homecoming Committee was having a meeting.
I’m part of the Parade Committee for Penn State Homecoming, meaning I help plan what is the largest student-run parade in the nation. Even though Homecoming isn’t for another month, at the meeting we talked about who will perform at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the start of the parade. We also talked about how excited we were to meet John Urschel, a former Penn State football player and the Grand Marshall for this year’s parade. I showed my committee the t-shirts I designed for us to order, then redesigned the shirt once I realized I had used the wrong website to make the design (oops).
After the meeting, I bought a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream using my meal points (S’mores flavor, would highly recommend) and headed back to my dorm. I would like to say that I studied once I got back to my room, but the reality is that I just watched a few episodes of The Office and the latest episode of This Is Us (surprisingly, I didn’t cry). My day was very busy, but with a little bit of time management skills it’s definitely possible to juggle being involved in a lot of different activities. My advice to any future Penn Staters is to get involved with a lot of things outside of the classroom. You will find that in college you have a lot of free time, and filling that time with activities that advance your career and personal/social life will help you make the most of your four (or more) years.