Journalism an opportunity to expand experiences

My, what a run. Hard to believe this is my final article for this fine publication. I first started writing for this newspaper my freshman year. I began in satire but did not grace the office of “The Collegian”often. Sophomore year, I took a hiatus; half of junior year, I was in Russia. Yet, in the spring of 2017, a passion for writing and a need for booze money brought me back to the paper. And I’ve been writing ever since.

My stories for the paper took me to many events I thought I’d never attend and to interviews I thought I’d never give. I’ve conversed with high-ranking administrators: Janet Levit, VP of Strategic Initiatives and incoming Provost; Roger Blais, outgoing Provost; Gale Sullenberger, outgoing Dean of the Collins College of Business; Gerard Clancy, President of TU; Kevan Buck, Executive VP and Treasurer. I attended events ranging from lectures on the history of Darwinism, to racism in government housing policies, to sexual assault panels, to discussions on the morality of physician-assisted suicide. I even wrote an investigative report on the slow death of a TU program that’s near and dear to my heart: Russian Studies.

I’ve written commentary pieces that deal with legalizing marijuana, providing a 24-hour study space in the library (you’re welcome, by the way), teacher pay in Oklahoma, bringing hard liquor to the Hut, and why Tulsa Time is great for this university. I’ve even tried my hand at film reviews. And of course, I’ve interviewed you all, my readers. Head of homecoming? Check. Fulbright recipient? Done. 2017 TU Research Colloquium Winner? You already know it. I’ve absolutely loved every minute of it.

What have I learned? That everybody has a story to tell. You can learn something from each and every person on this campus if you only sit down long enough to let him or her talk about it. The art of the conversation is one that should never die.

TU offers so many great events, inspiring lectures and incredible programs if you only get out of your domicile and look for them. Writing for this paper 100 percent made me a better citizen, smarter student and more inquisitive mind.

I have a lot of good memories here: Oktoberfests (back in the day when TU provided shuttles), homecoming bonfires and the subsequent piano drops, donor dinners, serving as an SA senator, running an entire fraternity’s finances for a year, sunrises on Harwell, sunsets from the library steps, the blackout game when we beat UConn my sophomore year, spring break trips with TU Treks and speaking with Jared Diamond, just to name a few.

I never thought I’d be able to say that before I graduated, I’d have interviewed provosts, the president, a dean, multiple department chairs, or the executive vice president. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people who run this school. Their job is to provide the most rewarding four years possible for you; writing an email to ask for thirty minutes of their time literally costs you nothing and could lead to one of the most rewarding conversations of your tenure at this university.

Now, a call to action.

This paper needs writers. Campus journalism dies without students willing to take up the helm each year. You have the chance to write about real issues, spark real change and interview real, fascinating people. Come to our table at the activities fair next August. Our office, Oliphant 110, is always open to aspiring writers. You don’t have to be the next Christiane Amanpour to do incredible work that can make a lasting impact.

You never know when a fellow student might pick up something you wrote and be inspired, be educated or be moved to action. You never know when a conversation will open your mind to new worlds of possibility. You never know when somebody will see a story you wrote and decide to change his or her life. You never know when you’ll write something that shifts somebody’s paradigm. You never know.

But if you sit there and do nothing, you’ll know one thing: those stories? Those ideas? They’ll never see the light of day. As the undisputed God of my favorite sport famously said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

So, fellow students and faculty, thank you for reading the paper. Thank you for supporting open journalism on this campus. Thank you for providing a platform for all of us to stoke our inner Woodward and Bernstein. Thank you for giving me a chance to speak to you all every week.

A soon-to-be graduate’s words of advice? It’s better to die with memories than dreams; live your life in college accordingly. It’s been both and honor and a pleasure. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Post Author: Alex Garoffolo