Category Archives: Student Struggles

What I have learned at The Times-Delphic

When I read and think about past issues of The Times-Delphic, my thoughts hardly transcend the obvious gaffes on the page: an extra period here, no hyphen there. I only have a moment, so I only think about the small.

Big-picture thoughts, good or bad, rarely receive my care. I wrongfully assume I need a few hours — even a day — to contemplate my progress. Wrongfully, too, I make excuses about self-reflection.

I need Confucian or Aristotelian wisdom to truly reflect. I need to eat Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream before I can can explore the deep or complex.

And, the excuse I toss out most of all: I don’t have time.

In this week off, though, I have taken the time to expand my thoughts to the big picture and take a look at The Times-Delphic and journalism beyond the page. Though this week is as busy as any other, I put the excuses away (Ben and Jerry miss my old, expensive excuse, no doubt) and took a look at what I have learned in two years at the TD.

The more self-assured you are, the more likely a source is to open up to you. As a gentle person, I formerly hedged around asking potential sources to speak to me.

My interview request procedure went somewhat like this: “Can I please interview you? If not, that’s OK, too. Just let me down gently, please.”

OK, I may have exaggerated that last sentence.

Now, though, I focus on the source and let him or her know how valuable his or her thoughts on X subject are to the TD and me.

Today, my interview requests are more concise, clear and, I confess, a tad frank. Though the change in tone, which has developed slowly over my two years, yet shocks me, I know sources are more eager to talk to me when I focus more on them.

This “more of you, less of me” idea has grown throughout my Times-Delphic career.

To move beyond commas, hyphens and interview requests, journalism is truly about more of you and less of me.

There are always more of you I have a duty to inform. More of you I have a duty to interest.

Most of all, there are always more of you I have a duty (and desire) to serve.

Relays theme relevant beyond special issue

The Drake Relays: For some students, the Relays guarantee a week of alcohol, a week of lost IDs and keys, a week of lost money, a week of (supposedly fun) shambles.

At The Times-Delphic, though, the Relays guarantee two weeks of junk food, two weeks of words and images, two weeks of AP Style, two weeks of (actually fun) shambles.

Every year, we produce a 42-page issue devoted to Drake’s history, culture and future. This year, the TD Relays theme was velocity, or the rate of change in a particular direction with regard to time.

Today at 5 a.m., when I left the newsroom, my second TD Relays complete, I noted a similar theme in my own life.

Every day, I move toward my goal to work as a sports reporter at a major newspaper. Some days, I even ask, “Can I just start my career today?”

Thankfully, though, time steps in and forces me to slow down and learn the trade — a trade I naively assume I already know, at times.

I have always been impatient, but velocity, thankfully, has a ready-made remedy for career-antsy college sophomores, in time. Though I am eager to start my career, I know that I need to let time teach me to report ethically and fairly, handle stubborn sources and write clearly and concisely, among many other skills I have yet to master.

As I reflect on my second TD Relays issue, I hope the theme of velocity resonates for the readers, too.

Why the urge to ‘out-busy’ harms students

“I am so busy.”

A sentence I hear constantly.

As constantly as I crave Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. As constantly as I ascend the 48 steps to my room. As constantly as I check ESPN for the latest ATP and WTA news.

Though the sentence seems innocent enough, it reveals a socially toxic trend, one I confess I take part in: the out-busy. When a classmate describes his or her week, seven days usually replete in due dates, essays, projects and tests, my mind instantly swerves to my own week, one usually replete in the same stressors.

DSC02833A hasty “Wow!” later, I describe my own week, careful to accent the grave nature of my own stressors. I am always eager to out-busy my fellow students.

As fellow college students, though, we ought to comfort each other. We ought to ask when the essay is due, what the project is about and when the test is. The out-busy trend reveals that we are self-centered students who hardly accept that we are all stuck in a relentless state of busyness, one we hope leads to career success.

Plus, when we try to out-busy, we neglect a chance to learn.

“Your paper is about the decline of the Occupy Wall Street movement? Tell me more.”

However, I am yet stuck on my own more. More due dates, more essays, more projects, more tests. More busy. More me.

And, I confess, less you.

Clearly, I need to acknowledge that “more” is a staple of college. That we all balance many tasks and bear many stressors.

That I need less me and more you.

How about we discuss next week’s mutual busyness over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream?