By Joce DeWitt

One of the most commonly asked questions from prospective OSU students is how one student, just one in a now 25,000-strong student population, can possibly get involved and make a difference on campus. Allow me to divulge my knowledge.

First, on behalf of all the ambassadors and advisors of the College of Liberal Arts, I would like to take this opportunity to strongly urge, nay, beg you to get involved during your years here at Oregon State University.  I’ll even go one step further in saying that you should do so immediately upon your arrival on campus. The benefits will not only be obvious once you immerse yourself, but later on down the winding road of life when you are applying for jobs and mapping out your career.

Speaking from experience, I think it is safe to say that there are more ways to get involved as a new student on campus than anyone can count. Therefore, the benefits that result are also immeasurable. My point is that “student involvement,” though a term that has become rather cliché over the years (think of your high school’s student body president campaigning for election because of how “involved” she was…) is not a concept that should be compartmentalized or marginalized on a campus as vast as that of OSU. I speak the truth when I guarantee that there is literally an outlet for every student here, whether it be recreational (anime club, sports club, Intermural sports leagues, etc.), academic (comm club, engineers without borders, Spanish club, etc.), paid campus positions (student media, academic departmental positions, MUPC event staff, etc.), and whatever else anyone can think of.

I suppose one of the best ways to provide evidence to my claims that there is an overabundance in involvement outlets on campus is by sharing my personal story.

As a freshman, brand new and wide-eyed to campus in the New Media Communications program, I enrolled in NMC 101 and was encouraged the first day to become a part of student media. From that very class, I marched myself to Snell Hall, home of all student media, and told them I wanted to write for the paper. With no questions on my lack of journalism experience or even what year I was, they told me they’d train me and get me published. Bam. Just like that.

Ever since that first experience, I have been involved with student media in one way or another. I worked myself up from freshman newbie columnist to News Editor, or the girl who gets to decide what our campus sees on the front page of the paper every single morning. I assign the stories, I hire and train the reporters, and I am the go-to person for story ideas and coverage. I also worked for KBVR TV on the Beaver Sports Show for a year. But even apart from experiences in student media, I held a campus job in one of the dining centers for two years and played on multiple IM sports teams.

Needless to say, I have already begun reaping the benefits of my hyper involvement, and I haven’t even graduated yet. Because of my work at the Barometer and KBVR, I scored a summer internship with The Keizer Times, where I learned the news-writing foundations I now put to daily use.

Getting involved as a student will guarantee one of the following: you meet a ton of amazing people and establish networks you never even knew existed, you have a ton of fun doing the things you love while making a difference as a contributing member of the community, you build your resume to impress the pants off of future employers, or you learn a lot about yourself (characteristic short-comings and marvels alike) in the process. Take your pick. I promise you will not make the wrong choice.


By Kerry Thomas

I can’t believe that it’s already week five of fall term.  It seems like just yesterday I was getting sunburned at the College of Liberal Arts CONNECT week scavenger hunt.  But it’s true, fall is underway and I’m seeing several tell-tale signs that indicate the middle of the term is here:

  1. It seems like everyone has the “bug” that’s going around, and they keep coming to class anyway; the large lecture hall in Milam turns into a symphony of coughing, sneezing and blowing noses.
  2. “More Coffee!” is the cry of the masses struggling to pull through their first round of midterms.
  3. The hours of daylight are shrinking as we prepare for the marathon of grey rainy days that is the blur of winter in Oregon.
  4. And the buzz around campus is related to what everyone is dressing up as, yep, that’s right, for HALLOWEEN!

It’s here folks; the first holiday of the year that reminds us all that it’s time to go in and talk with your academic advisor.  To schedule an appointment either call 541-737-0561 or come by Gilkey 213.

But before meeting with your advisor, take some time to think back over the past weeks of this term and ask yourself some questions.  First, how is it going? Overall, are you happy at OSU and doing well in your classes?  If not, try to identify what isn’t working for you.  Maybe you don’t like the majority if your courses or you’re considering changing your major.  If that’s the case, it’s time to talk to your advisor about finding different content areas that you are interested in.  As advisors, we can help you make connections based on your interests and career goals that you might not know are possible.

What about involvement on campus? Are you already involved in five campus activities and two intramural sports and can’t find the time to fit in studying?  Or perhaps you are overwhelmed with how much free time you have now that you’re in college and you have no idea where to start. If that’s the case, your academic advisor is a great resource for helping you evaluate your priorities so that you can learn to create a healthy and happy balance in your life.

Whether you are struggling to find your footing here this first term, or you feel like you have this “school thing” all figured out.  Come in and talk with your advisor in order to make plans for the future, make connections with campus resources and develop a personalized plan for your educational journey.

When I first came to OSU, I quickly found out that I hated my major.  I also knew that I wanted to be involved, but not as involved as I was in high school (we’re talking like 12 co-curricular activities).  I was overwhelmed with the idea of picking a new major and I had no idea where to start when getting involved.  There were so many choices that the sheer number made me not want to choose because I was scared of making the wrong choice.  Luckily, it was my academic advisor who helped me recognize that one of my favorite BACC Core courses (ECON 202, I know, right?) was my true academic passion, and the major I graduated with!!  He also helped me talk through my life goals and interests and pointed me in the direction of some key activities that were the foundation of my choosing a career in academic advising.


By Amber Gomes

I have never posted in a blog before… I’ve read some (including the other CLA ones) and it seems like they are all really witty or just outright clever in some way. So when we talked about writing blogs as Ambassadors my first thought was “Crap! How am I going to be that funny?” and my second thought was “What in the heck do I write about?” Eventually I decided… “Who cares about being funny? It’s more important to be honest right?” So then I moved onto the real problem… what in the world do I want to say to you guys?

My first thought was the importance of getting involved; be it a sport, intramurals, a club, student government, a fraternity, sorority, honor society or what have you. You make lifelong friends when you decide to do something social with your free time. Obviously studying is important, I mean we are in college that’s kind of a key element of the whole scenario, but balance really is essential to mental well-being and you should enjoy your time here too! But everyone you meet is going to encourage you to get involved so I figured a blog on it would only be redundant. So I decided that I want to share something that may be just a little bit cheesy but is seriously really important.

Listen to yourself!

Cheesy? Yes! Cliché? Quite possibly. But REALLY!!!! DO IT!!!!!

Statistics say that college students change their majors four times on average; I actually never did (though I did change one of my minors) but I do know others who have. For example my friend, let’s call him Reginald (because Bob is overused), spent the first three years of his college career as a civil engineer. We were talking the other day and he was telling me he just switched his major. Apparently Reginald had always thought the classes he was taking were kind of lame… but he kept telling himself “They are going to get more interesting! They are going to get more fun!” and turns out they never did. So after three years, and who knows how much money, he finally decided to make that major switch. Reginald is now officially a Mathematics major. Personally I don’t see how that could be any more fun than Civil Engineering BUT the point is that it is not my opinion that matters. It’s not your teacher’s opinion, your advisor’s opinion, your friend’s opinion or even your parents’ opinions! It is your opinion!

Don’t set yourself up to hate school by taking classes or sticking with a major you don’t like! You have that whole big broad range of classes to choose from as you fill your bacc core… choose ones in different fields! I’m an International Degree Political Science major with minors in Spanish and Psychology (yes I love my Liberal Arts) but I know because I took the most random bacc core classes that I also LOVE history and medical anthropology and I know from other random bacc cores that cultural anthropology is not necessarily my thing. I know I hate math but that public health classes and biology can be super interesting. Oddly enough it’s even kind of fun to know about different kinds of rocks as a result of my geology 101 class (at least my little brother thinks its cool). I won’t say that I enjoyed or even cruised through all of my classes but I can honestly say I have learned a lot about myself as a result of trying new things. And my best piece of advice to you, the youngest of the beaver nation is to be active in your education! After all, it kind of does help to determine your future!


By Alexandra “Alex” Schireman

If you told me I had to choose between taking a midterm exam or a final, I would probably reach for my planner and pen, and ask you when the final exam was.   I’m sure there are plenty of readers out there who will question my rationale.  After all, the word “final” is inherently frightening.  It is the end, the finish, the death knell, the swan song; no re-dos, no second chances.  The key element of midterms, however, is the word “mid.”  Midterms take place around the middle of the term.  The time when you have to put in extra hours at work, turn in that journal assignment, complete your house chores, have orchestra rehearsal, have an appointment with your career counselor, want to go to the football game…it can feel as though there is no ample time to study.   And although your RAs may be sympathetic, they cannot guarantee that your dorm will be a peaceful place to study.  It’s a free country, and if your roommate wants to blast Zac Brown, you’re not in as good of a position to protest.  Midterms generally take place during class time, and for some people, fifty minutes is not sufficient time to tackle an exam.  In addition, while a class can have only one final, it is possible for a class to have multiple midterm exams.

And yet, with all that said, I recently discovered that I wouldn’t want to be in a class without a midterm.  This realization occurred last summer, when I was taking Intercultural Communication as a week long course.  Since the course was so short, our final paper was due a couple of weeks after our class stopped officially meeting.  This final assignment was to interview someone from another culture and write a paper about our discoveries.  Having confidence in my academic writing abilities, I interviewed my friend from Vietnam, quickly churned out a paper, edited it once, and sent it to my professor.  No worries…until I discovered that I had earned a B+ in the course overall.  After discussing my grade with my professor, I had learned that my final paper was what ultimately lowered my grade.  Although my paper was well written, it did not directly address the academic terms and social patterns that we had learned about in class.  In hindsight, I should have shown my professor a rough draft of my paper.   Since the course was so brief, I didn’t have the benefit of a midterm; I didn’t have the opportunity to learn from experience what my professor wanted and to produce an “A” worthy final when I needed it most.  In other words, a big lesson I learned is that midterms don’t have to be intimidating; they can actually make final exams less so.  They can provide you with a cushion come finals time, or they can be the wake-up call you need to succeed.

The most successful midterms I experienced at Oregon State were the ones where the professors clearly outlined what they expected from a midterm in advance.  One example of a professor who does an excellent job of providing information about her midterm exams is Charlotte Headrick, who teachers Theatre History here at OSU.  Paying heed to Charlotte’s detailed information regarding her midterms served me well; in fact, during my last theatre history class with her, I did so well on both midterms that I was completely excused from taking the final! Of course, not all teachers will explicitly state what’s expected on their exams.  If you feel unsure about to expect on your midterm exam, or what your teacher wants to see in your midterm paper, I highly recommend looking up your teacher’s office hours and making an appointment.  Your professors are being paid to help you succeed; make them work a little harder for their money!

What you do after your midterms is just as important as what you do before.  If you do an excellent job on an exam, keep doing what you’re doing.  Now is not the time to rest on your laurels. But if you don’t do so well on a midterm, NOW is the time to ask your professor questions if you haven’t done so already.  Ask him why you got marked down in certain areas and what you can do to improve (and sometimes, you just may need your teacher to decipher his handwriting).  And be proactive: if you notice what parts of an exam you did poorly on, you know what you need to fix. If you know somebody who DID do well, you know who to ask to be in your next study group.  And if worse comes to worse, if a midterm makes you realize that you can’t pass a class despite your best efforts, it’s good to be aware of the final drop date.

If you have a midterm coming up, good luck!  You’re lucky to already have this opportunity to learn how to receive the most benefit from your classes.

P.S. One more thing: check out this link for several helpful studying tips.  It’s awesome!


Welcome all new Beavers! My name is Alison Blazer and I’m a sophomore majoring in Speech Communication. Having only one year of Oregon State under my belt, I was not too long ago new to this campus, just like you.

Here in the Beaver Nation, there’s a rather large contingency of engineering students, pre-pharmacy students, animal science students etc. While each and every one of these subjects holds importance in society today, I want you all to keep in mind that being a student of the College of Liberal Arts is just as key a position to hold.

I came to OSU as an English major, and switched later on to a major in Speech Communication. My whole life I have been interested in working with people on a more interpersonal level than many math and science students care to do. Now I’m not saying that students who delve deeper into those more fact-based subjects are in any way lacking intelligence. The fact is that, my freshman year, I was regarded as the one lacking intelligence!

With engineering being a main focus at Oregon State, I continuously ran into students doubting the importance of what I do. People would rhetorically ask me “Why would you ever major in Communications?” as if just to get a rise out of me.

My personal interest in this endless battle comes from the inherent label of “slacker” being thrown about when it comes to students studying the liberal arts. I, along with many of my liberal arts peers, rarely show a strong interest in anything math or science related, mainly because such subjects don’t seem worthwhile or invigorating. On the other hand, skeptics of the liberal arts don’t just express a disinterest in the subject, but rather a discounting of the necessity of the subject as a whole.

The fact is, while math and science are indeed important subjects, I have always been far more intrigued by writing, reading, the study of rhetoric and interpersonal relationships. To some people these focuses may be insignificant, but as long as we CLA students stick together, we can stand up and defend our academic choices.

My first winter term on campus, I was talking with an upperclassman majoring in Civil Engineering. When he asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I essentially told him that I wanted to work with people, most likely on a college campus, perhaps as the Dean of Student Life or in some other facet of student affairs. He discounted my goals, asking what my work was going to the do for the public. The buildings that he would one day design were going to be used by the public every day. While I acknowledge that engineering, in any form, is a tough topic, the importance and my personal love of Liberal Arts are both things that are sorely misunderstood.

Although my fellow Liberal Arts peers may not design buildings or develop new pharmaceuticals, each of them will surely contribute to society in a positive way. I have now met students here whose wide range of future plans astonish me. Each of them has been working for years toward their goals, whether it’s teaching history to high school students, being a sports news broadcaster or even joining the Peace Corps.

Those students who trek through the rather continuous questioning of their purpose here on campus will go on to serve just as vital a role in society as any other major. A degree in the liberal arts can be molded to fit any type of future, ranging from movie producer to political activist.

As you venture into the wonderful Beaver Nation, remember- CLA is not for everyone, but it is for you! If you have a passion for psychology or philosophy or even the theater arts, embrace what you love and don’t take any flak from your fellow students! After all, we know that they’re just jealous because we’re a bit better with our words.