reasons to study journalism

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

Unsolicited remarks are not welcomed here.

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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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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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