By Daniel Guevara
Last August, I officially started my path as a college student here at IUPUI. I am currently studying journalism in the School of Liberal Arts. My goal is to graduate and become a journalist for a major outlet covering several topics and areas I’m interested in such as sports, music, and events.
Since enrolling at IUPUI, I have had tons of experiences and learned many lessons along the way. From the start of Bridge Week to now, I have learned about the various resources and parts of campus. At first, I felt a bit nervous about the transition from high school to college. I went to a small high school, so it felt almost intimidating at times walking around campus. It felt huge compared to any other school I went to. The Summer Bridge Program certainly helped me feel more at ease and get to know the environment and the people around me better. I got familiar with Cavanaugh Hall, which was important considering most of my classes were going to be there. As I learned and got to know the school better, I realized I wanted to be more active on campus and thought about organizations that may be related to writing and journalism.
I heard about the Campus Citizen from someone at my former job who attended IUPUI. The Campus Citizen is an independent student-run media outlet here at IUPUI that was launched in 2011. The organization covers a wide variety of topics including campus, politics, sports, culture, and more. After hearing about them, I thought that joining the Campus Citizen during my first year would allow me to be more active and gain writing experience. I filled out an application, and about a week later, I got a message saying I was accepted into the Campus Citizen! One of the Citizen’s editors, Jacob Stewart, reached out to me and showed me all the basics and how the organization runs. I was excited to be a part of a student news organization like this and thought this was the best way to be active on campus as a journalism major.
With Bridge Week concluding, and now being a little more used to campus (still a bit confused about my way around classes), I started the Fall semester. It felt strange at first having only one or two classes a day in the afternoon instead of about five or so in the morning back in high school. I was taking two classes within the journalism major, J110 Foundations of Journalism and J200 Reporting, Writing, and Editing. I was lucky enough to have a professor who taught both classes and had an extensive knowledge of journalism. Although I felt lost at times when it came to the structure and the flow of writing articles, especially learning AP Style, I later felt more comfortable with my classes. It also helped that I had classes with the same group of people who were in my Bridge week class. So, the weeks started to fly by, and soon enough, IUPUI’s annual Regatta was around the corner.
I participated in covering the event for the Campus Citizen. Before going to the Regatta, I had never attended a canal race, let alone a school event with as many people that were there for the event. I felt a bit nervous knowing that I had to talk to several spectators and organizers to get information and quotes for my Regatta article, but I knew that going out there would help me gain experience as a journalism student. I went to various booths, watched the teams take part, and interviewed several people, including people who paddled in the race. Now that I had the interviews, I would next have to draft the story.
After a few suggestions and revisions, the Regatta article was published on the Campus Citizen website. “Wow, my first article!” I thought. It felt like a huge accomplishment getting a work of mine out there and being able to have others read it. It is one of my favorite experiences this year at IUPUI. With that, I remembered that it was only the first step of many, and I still had a lot to go while being a first-year student at college.
Class assignments and projects rolled around toward the end of the semester. During those times it would sometimes feel overwhelming, but I was grateful to have a good support system around me and various resources I could turn to that I learned about during Bridge Week, such as the MAC and the Writing Labs. There were lots of people I could go to for help or advice. After lots of studying at the Campus Center, University Library, and other places throughout campus, I made it through the Fall semester, passing each of my classes with flying colors.
As I start my second semester, I am learning more and more about IUPUI and the field of journalism. Recently, I wrote another Campus Citizen article about the Sports Management Club’s (SMC) talent show event with Jagathon to raise money for the dance marathon and Riley Hospital for Children. It was fun to watch and write about the various acts that performed and to talk to members of the SMC after.
IUPUI has brought me a lot of opportunities and given me so much knowledge and experience surrounding the writing process and covering stories. My first year has had a lot of ups and a few downs, but the experiences and the lessons it brought along have been fundamental to my growth. I have realized a lot about myself, my passions, and my skills. I sharpened my writing skills and shaped a better idea of what I want to cover and write about as a journalist.
The students and faculty here at IUPUI and the School of Liberal Arts have been extremely helpful. They were knowledgeable and open when it came to questions and ideas surrounding the courses, sources for articles, and connections in and out of school. If there are a few things I learned from being a first-year journalism student, it would be to be open-minded, have confidence, keep your eyes and ears active, and keep a pen or your phone around you, because there are always ideas for stories around here.
This first year has been exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing what the years ahead bring next.