What Now?

Adia Watts, Editor-in-Chief

As I a reflect on my time at SUNY Oneonta, I have to say that it has definitely changed my life. Not completely, but certainly by helping me to create friendships and connections that will hopefully last a lifetime, and by giving me varying experiences that have shaped the way I interact with the world.

While attending this school, I have had my hair pulled and touched without my permission on multiple occasions because it’s different, weird, exotic. I’ve been called racial slurs, I’ve been afraid of police and Confederate flags, I’ve been fetishized by white males looking for a good time, and I’ve been made to feel alone in a room full of people. But this story isn’t about those experiences.

Those instances during my four-year tenure at this secluded tundra of an institution have only been a blip on my radar. They have no doubt altered my thinking, of course. I am now hyper-aware of my hands resting warmly in my pockets in the winter and how that can be interpreted as suspicious to an ignorant shop owner. But what I’m more concerned about is my feet and my mind, and where they’re leading me as I move forward in my journey through life.

What I’m more worried about is how well eight semesters and $50,000+ spent at SUNY Oneonta has prepared me for life, for a career. And currently, I’d have to say … not well.

I’m a mass communication major studying to be a journalist or a “writer, I think, but I’m not sure what kind,” as I say when people ask me where I’m headed.

However, the mass communication department at this school is terribly lacking in groundbreaking, social-media-rich, evolutionary journalistic classes that teach students how to navigate this ever-changing information speedway we’re about to be thrown into.

Sure, there are classes like Reporting and Writing for the Newspaper that give the basics of newswriting, but all those classes did was reinforce what I learned in my high school journalism class.

A large majority of the other classes on the production track of the mass communication department are solely focused on how to make students better filmmakers. Basic Motion Picture, Videography, and the Development of Film. All classes centered around visual journalism. All wonderful talents to have, and I’m glad I took some of these classes to add the skills to my tool belt, but that’s not what I came here for.

So, what about those of us who are better with our words? Well we’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to work our way up the ranks of the student-run newspaper. We’ve got to find our own internships. We’ve got to teach ourselves.

Otherwise, with four months left to figure it out you’ll be asking yourself, like me, “What now?”

But I’m grateful for this experience and for these four years. Because now I have the drive and the confidence to know that I can succeed in any circumstance. Regardless of the perspective-shaping experiences I may face, I got this in the bag.

Time to drop the mic and pick up the pencil.

Watts out.

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