Top 5 Things You MUST Do In College Pt. 5: Write For The School Paper…At Least Once

[The following is the final installment of a five-part series I’m calling “The Top 5 Things You MUST Do In College.” Everyone’s already heard about buying flip-flops for the shower, stocking up on veggies to avoid the Freshman 15, and to steer clear of mojitos before midterms, but there are other tips for enjoying college that the experts might have neglected to tell you about.
This series is meant to provide advice for getting the most out of college, rather than just getting through it. So far we’ve already discussed having a professor as a BFF, checking out what’s going on in your college town, joining new clubs, and living with strangers. Now, in the final post, we wrap it all up with one important piece of advice: write for the paper! ]
College is supposed to be the best time of your life, but nothing is ever perfect. Whether you’re dissatisfied with your campus’ food (let’s face it, caf pizza isn’t exactly Domino’s), or you’re peeved about your school’s guest policy (can’t have overnight guests?), or maybe you just don’t like how you’re forced to take core requirements in philosophy when you’re paying big money to get your degree in engineering. Whatever the gripe may be, everyone has one.
But does anyone want to hear it?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
There are a group of students on every college campus who would LOVE to hear what you have to say: they are the staff of your college newspaper and everyone who is reading it.
Writing for the school paper is much easier than you think. If you’re really uncomfortable with submitting your writing, or you don’t think you’ve got enough words to fill up a whole article, write a letter to the editor. They don’t have to be as formal as your typical article, and you can say whatever you like. If you want to go all the way, though, just talk to the editor of the paper. Usually, editors will work with you in formatting a piece that you are both comfortable sending to press.
And what’s in it for you?
Well for one, your voice will definitely be heard and those that agree with you may join you in your crusade for change. If it’s changing your campus meal plan that you’re after, you can band together with other students who are dissatisfied and petition administration to change your food service. And while you may not see immediate results (and it may seem hard to believe), your school’s administration will pay attention to student opinion. You’re the ones who are keeping them in business.
You may also discover a newfound love of writing for press or social change!
The American college campus is a microcosm of the rest of society. You might never again have the potential to have such a large impact on your community by doing so little. A simple letter to your school’s paper can have a tremendously weighty impact on your campus. By contrast, if you try to write a letter to the editor to a large paper like the New York Times or the Washington Post, there’s a far smaller chance of it getting published. So please, if you do nothing else before graduation — if you’ve read and hated all of the other suggestions in this series thus far — write about what’s bothering you for the paper! You may not win a Pulitzer, but your voice can make a difference.

[You can also write your gripes, complaints, or just general thoughts and feelings on CollegeCandy’s Facebook page!]

[Photo of MTV’s The Paper courtesy of]

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