OPINION | Why journalism is the key to a connected community and making friends

I’ve discovered my very own superpower: the ability to turn into an extrovert. Coming to write for the Scribe as a shy individual has been such a change of pace for me, because journalism pushes me to meet new people and make new friends.  

Entering a university is a daunting task as students take on new individual freedoms. When I began last semester at UCCS as a first-year sophomore, it was a bit frightening, since I knew no one on campus. Since UCCS first appeared to be relatively quiet, it was hard to find a way to branch out and connect. 

Looking back, I now recognize that feeling of disconnection as social anxiety. A 2017 study by the American College Health Association found that out of the 48,000 college students who participated, 60.9% felt “overwhelmed by anxiety,” and 63.1% felt “very lonely.” 

According to a study on students from College Data, 19 percent of their subjects “felt unprepared for the social side of college,” while “5 percent said they thought meeting new people or making friends in college was more challenging than they expected.” 

Adjusting to a new environment is hard, and many schools and self-help guides recommend joining clubs. I thought that was just general advice, but when I joined the Scribe, I realized I agree. My job forces me to go out and meet people, which pushes the boundary set by my introversion. 

In my Scribe hiring interview, I was asked if I would be willing to interview people for articles. With a background in customer service jobs, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard, but I wasn’t sure. Becoming a reporter means reaching out to total strangers, planning a date and time to meet and asking a million questions. The idea of having to go up and meet a stranger and talk to them about everything was overwhelming. 

It turns out meeting new people is the most enjoyable part of the job. Something a professor once shared that has stuck with me ever since is “everyone has a story.” Working at the Scribe has shown me how true that is. When I interview them, most people interact positively because they have a desire to connect and share what they’re passionate about. 

At UCCS, every single person I have interviewed for the Scribe has been exceptionally nice and willing to work with me. Their compassion has granted me the confidence to continue going up to strangers and asking questions. 

I’ve met many vibrant personalities on campus, and I always have something to do and someone to talk to. Attending events on campus for the Scribe keeps me busy and gives me more opportunities to interview members of the UCCS community. 

I have also found connections within the Scribe community. In an on-campus organization, there are many people who share common interests and eventually form friendships. Showing up to the weekly meetings and conversing with others has given me a sense of belonging to the newspaper and to UCCS. 

From all my learning experiences on the Scribe and this academic year at UCCS, I look forward to making new connections with people on campus. Journalism was an unexpected turn for me, but I am grateful for the community I have found. I recommend journalism for both the writing experience and the people.

Photo by David Travison on Unsplash.