My time as a student at Sacramento State has been one of continuous learning. As a transfer student, I chose this university because I wanted to go where I knew no one, into a field of study I knew little about. After all that I’ve experienced while enrolled here, I would not change my decision to become a Hornet. The people I’ve met will be the ones that continue to challenge me in the future, whether directly or indirectly.
Working at The State Hornet, like many other organizations on campus, I was given the opportunity to take what was being taught in lectures and apply it. This real-world experience pushed me to question if I would thrive in this profession, and while I don’t know if I will, I fell in love with the process and all that it takes to put out a publication.
Without the slightest clue of what I would learn, I jumped into the job, put my head down and pushed forward every day, challenging myself and those around me to inch closer to the ultimate goal: truth. While we may have fell short at times, we never lost sight of that goal and knew that it was obtainable. I’m confident this student-run publication will continue to move in that direction for years to come.
Journalism is in a transition phase and no one knows what the outcome will be. My professors taught me what they have learned throughout their academic and professional lives, and I value their time and energy. But if I learned anything from my time at The State Hornet, it’s that our faculty need students to teach them just as much as we need them to teach us. In order to effectively teach, you must also be willing to listen. Only when the two come together will a truly groundbreaking learning experience be achieved.
The journalism department should be focused on how to utilize the internet and social media to reach a larger audience. Our students should be taught how to create and maintain a website. We should learn what it takes to freelance and shop our work to multiple publications. The students should gain the knowledge of writing long form and understand what it takes to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to help with enterprise reporting.
But this need for improvement transcends the journalism department. Every college and department on campus should be reevaluated on a daily basis, not by the administration or external entities, but by the students. The future of every field of study can, and should, be better than its previous version. It is our obligation as students to shed the complacency of academia and transform the learning environment to better suit our needs.
If you, as a student, truly want to push yourself and those around you to move the needle, you must begin to challenge what is believed to be the truth. By challenging your professors and peers, you will inevitably push for a more formative conversation. You are the ones paying to know more; it is your responsibility to achieve a higher level of understanding. In the process, you might help someone else grow too.
A degree is just a piece of paper with fancy fonts and a seal of legitimacy. The means to achieving this far outweigh the end result.