It’s 3:30 a.m. the morning of this week’s Campus Times production night, I’ve had little sleep since the weekend, and my opinions editor has reminded me three times that my editorial observer is long-past due.
It’s times like this when a small part of me begins to wonder, have I, a physics major, devoted too much time to an extracurricular that seemingly has little to do with my major or my plans for after college?
For nearly three years now, I have served as an editor for the CT, spending hours every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as my entire Wednesday night, preparing the weekly paper for its Thursday publication. Forced to find some way to fit in my schoolwork on top of this time-consuming job, I often find myself sacrificing sleep to compensate. I’ve been asked by several people why I would devote my time to such an organization when I already have a full work schedule, I’m not being paid, and I’m not even planning on pursuing a career in journalism.
But when I put aside moments such as this one (and the I-don’t-want-to-wake-up-all-I-want-to-do-is-sleep-forever feeling I get every Thursday morning when my alarm goes off), the answer to this question is quite simple. I originally joined the Campus Times because a friend in my freshman hall didn’t want to go to the interest meeting alone, but joining this paper, no matter how unintentional it was, was one of the best decisions I have made at this University and has been a major part of what has made my college experience so great.
Because of the CT, I have developed my writing and communication skills (something that is actually beneficial to all majors and professions, not just journalists). But the purely academic skills I have acquired through the paper are only one part of what I have gotten out of it.
Being a part of the CT certainly has its unique benefits, such as free dinner on Wednesdays, but the most important way it has shaped my college experience is something not unique to this organization, but is rather common among all clubs on campus: Through the paper, I have made some of my best friends at college.
Yes, you do attend college to learn. But academia is only one aspect of a well-rounded college experience. At least equally important if not more is the social experience you gain from your first four years spent away from home. It is this aspect of college life that truly shapes the person you become.
Yes, my GPA would probably be higher if I didn’t have extracurricular commitments. Yes, my alertness tends to be significantly lower on Thursday mornings than any other time of the week (I’d like to take this moment to apologize to any of my Thursday professors whose classes I have fallen asleep in). And no, I do not always have as much time as I would like to just hang out with my friends without feeling like I should be doing work instead.
But do I regret my joining the paper as a result? No. Not in a million years. When I graduate, I will have taken so much more away from the last four years than I would have had I never been a part of the CT. So if you are reading this and have some time left at this University, this is my advice to you: Get involved with something on campus, and you might be surprised at how passionate you become about it. And, let’s face it. If you happen to work up to a leadership position in that group, you know the grad schools and potential employers will love it.
Lombardo is a member of
the class of 2010.

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