reasons to study journalism

Yes, I Am Studying Journalism and No, I Don't Want Your Opinion

Unsolicited remarks are not welcomed here.


One of the most asked questions I hear as a server is "What are you studying?"

I find it quite ignorant that people assume I attend higher education because of my age and location in a college town. Many of the servers I actually work with are around my age and choose not to attend college for a variety of reasons and situations. I would hate to think that they've ever once felt embarrassed to answer this question and be met by the displeasure of a guest.

I don't say that so much in an "everyone should feel validated by the approval of others," but more so that if your customer doesn't like you, they probably won't tip you well.

Second, it may be a good conversation starter, but my answer is usually a conversation stopper. When I say, "Oh, I study journalism," I'm oftentimes met with the sound of crickets, a blank stare or a disapproving shoulder shrug, followed by a head tilt to the other direction. When this first happened to me, it was an immediate blow to my self-esteem, but then I realized, I'm not majoring in journalism for the approval of others, but to help inform them.

The politics of modern America has put a poor taste of journalism in the mouths of many. From distasteful reporting and frivolous writing to clearly biased news hosts, we've seen the worst of journalism, and it's certainly not something to be proud of.

But as a person studying journalism, I shouldn't be judged by the actions of those before me.

I know what the best of journalism also looks like. It's the resilence children show after losing their parents to opioids, the struggles of a veteran learning how to come home after killing people in war and the pain of students who had to endure their worst fears of trying to survive a school shooting.

As easy as is it to focus on everything the field has done poorly, we must never lose sight of what it has done right.

Journalism has given voices to the people who aren't large or loud enough to be heard. It has allowed them to share their pain, happiness, despair, and anger. It has enabled people who can never imagine a situation to hear or read about the tragedies and triumphs of people they will never meet. Overall, it has both united us and made us understand one another better.

As a future journalist, I have learned from the mistakes professionals in my field have made. I've seen it firsthand on the TV and in the paper; I've watched movies detailing the many failures of journalists; I've read stories about how the poor work has affected not only small communities but the nation as a whole.

I've seen it. I've learned it. And I'm also ready to turn it around.

I still feel pride in my field because of my ability to understand that the actions of certain people do not reflect everyone as a whole. I recognize the importance of learning from mistakes and taking the proper measures to ensure they never happen again. And I am dedicated to being the best journalist I can be because it's what I truly love and what I've always wanted to do.

So, to answer the shoulder shrug and look of confusion, I've learned to keep things short, simple and sweet.

"I truly enjoy journalism not only because I get to tell the stories of extraordinary ordinary people, but because I too get to learn from them myself."

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?


This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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