Built to Last

Watching my students build an inter-generational departmental culture

  1. There are many things to love about teaching at a small liberal arts college. I enjoy the process of getting to know the majors in my department, of figuring out how to motivate them to do the best work they can, and watching them transform into better versions of themselves. And the students here really are wonderful--earnest and hardworking, not the least bit entitled, bright and ambitious but looking for a push to get them where they want to be. Of course, I would like to think that my students get something out of the deal, as well. Our majors in Media and Communication can build close working relationships with members of our faculty, customize their path through the major, and never have to sit in a 150 seat auditorium to take a film class. But most days, I still feel like I'm the lucky one.
  2. Take, for instance, August 31 of this year, the day when we welcomed our new majors (the Class of 2019) to the department. That morning, on a whim, I sent out a tweet fishing for a piece of advice I could casually drop into my welcome remarks.
  3. In a few hours I'm meeting our new class of media/comm majors. What advice would you have for them, DMC alums?
  4. In just a few minutes, I got a handful of replies.
  5. @popthought Start early. I wish I had started writing / pitching to publications in college instead of waiting until after graduation.
  6. @popthought get all the internships you can and start building your portfolio now
  7. @popthought it's okay if you don't know what you're doing. Start doing what you want to do in life right now. It's okay if you mess up.
  8. Secure in the knowledge that I would have a few pieces of advice to show the new students, I threw my phone in my bag and headed to campus. But the recommendations kept coming, and our alums started to respond to one another.
  9. @popthought i agree with @sammynickalls. Start interning and volunteering early. If you can't find one, start a blog, podcast, vlog, etc.
  10. @popthought Take advantage of your professors. Ask questions, try to develop connections. Let yourself be an advice sponge.
  11. @sammynickalls @popthought this one! don't be afraid to ask questions. you never know what you will get out of it!
  12. @popthought at the same time, don't let anyone tell you that your dreams aren't viable. Had a prof tell me that online pubs aren't as good.
  13. Some students had more general advice about life in a university.
  14. @popthought I'd say keep an open mind, be curious and have humility. This I think will make college fun and rewarding.
  15. @popthought to start doing what you want to do after uni now. Experience is everything!
  16. @popthought if something seems impossible, that's all the more reason to do itπŸ’«
  17. While others offered practical advice about studying in the major
  18. @popthought refresh your grammar knowledge -  http://grammarbook.com  has free quizzes that make it easy πŸ“πŸ˜Š
  19. @popthought Don't be afraid to sound stupid in class, and learn from your peers! I did a lot of the former and things worked out fine
  20. @popthought get to know your professors, take video/journalism/PR classes even if it's not your exact concentration, & join @LocoMag!
  21. @popthought save your notes. In addition to great teachers, everything you learn can apply to real life which is why comm is the best major
  22. @popthought read everything put in front of you. You can't always predict the writers/theorists/critics you'll end up falling in love with.
  23. @popthought or WATCH everything, for all those visual media learners out there.
  24. Alums encouraged students to take their interests out of the classroom
  25. @popthought take advantage of living close to a city with tons of creative opportunities. Go be amongst it! Volunteer, intern, participate.
  26. @popthought don't be afraid to contact ur role models and talk over coffee.They might say yes & lead to future opportunities.
  27. @popthought oh and philly is such a great city so take advantage of it. get out there and meet other people in your field
  28. @popthought and start looking for internships before senior year rolls around
  29. @popthought ALSO look into media internships abroad (ldn, aus, etc)
  30. A handful of alums working in digital and social media professions chimed in...
  31. @popthought Spend the next four years figuring out what you like and what you don't. Then find ways to pursue those passions.
  32. @popthought You won't always make money doing what you love, but if you can find a gig that let's you do what you like on your time, start
  33. @popthought there. The relationships you build will be essential; never stop networking and never say no to a chance to try something new.
  34. @popthought Start (and maintain) your website. It'll be key when you apply for jobs and internships.
  35. @popthought digital media is often the things you do/make/watch/read when you're procrastinating and you can actually do it for a living
  36. @popthought and you should take it seriously, especially if you feel yourself pulled in that direction.
  37. @popthought don't ignore traditional media, use digital media to solve their problems.
  38. Others offered advice about post-grad life
  39. @popthought from a Comm graduate: internships and networking are great - but you are still going to get rejected. Losing is good for you.
  40. @popthought intrigued? They should follow me on Twitter for more spectacular adult advice.
  41. @popthought K LAST ONE PROMISE: Think of the stories you tell people IRL that intrigue them. Tell those stories to pubs. be your unique self
  42. This advice (and more) was great enough on its own, but what impressed me so much was the sheer volume of the response, and the thoughtful, careful consideration each of these young people offered to students that they may never meet in their lives. It made me proud to have been some part of their journey, and it made me hopeful about the future of our department. Even in the absence of the prestige, material resources, and sheer size some other universities have to offer, these students are building something meant to last.