The Last Dance: What a Senior Must Do
Around the time I started considering a class ring, I was wondering how long it would be until I would have to start ordering a cap and gown and all the other odds and ends for graduation. But I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn't have to worry about that kind of stuff for a while because graduation was so far off. But in reality, it isn't that far off. The school is already making us apply for graduation. The deadline: mid-October.
I turned in my application for graduation yesterday at the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. The form was only one page long, asking me for my name, my addresses, my PID and a permanent e-mail where I can be contacted after I have graduated. Wait, after I graduate? I do have another e-mail, but I never thought of it that way. In a matter of months, I won't have my UNC Webmail address anymore.
I will be honest; when I was filling out the application I got a little flustered. This is the first time all year that I have thought about graduation this much. And then I did the math. Graduation day is May 9. That means a little over seven months left here. And while I hope that turning in the application somehow brings to the school's attention that I am a senior and still haven't been to a Duke basketball game (and am also one of the biggest Carolina Basketball fans you can find…ahem), it was weird turning in an application to leave here. I would stay forever if I could. But these last seven months will fly by. I guess it's time to start hanging out around the Dean Dome if I plan on meeting Roy.
I am in one class right now that I love so much I knew that I had to share it with you all. The class is called "magazine writing and editing," but it is so much more than that. We are spending the whole semester creating one issue of our own magazine, from cover to the last page. Two weeks ago, we started to come up with the ideas for the magazines and then narrowed it down to four. As groups, we had to develop these ideas and present our prospectus, which was really just the initial business plan that outlines competition, our mission, advertising and story ideas, etc.
Then last Wednesday we presented our ideas to the class, as well as to the magazine design class that will be designing the selected magazines. My group did a magazine for girls ages 9 to 11 called Cartwheel. Another group did a magazine about how to live "green" on a budget and called it Sage. The third group created a magazine called Boomerang that was targeted at kids who graduate college and then have to move back home because they can't find a job. And finally, the fourth group created a magazine called Killer Creatures that focused on dangerous predators of all types.
I had so much fun listening to the presentations and the creative story ideas and features that each group came up with. We had to wait until yesterday to hear which two the professors had decided to choose. And I am excited to say that our magazine, Cartwheel, was one of the two picked! The other winner was Sage. The students in the groups whose ideas weren't selected were moved into one of the selected magazines, and everyone involved in the production of Cartwheel is very excited to get started. After all, how often do you get to write about slumber parties and crafts for homework?
I have waited three long years to take this class, and this is one of the best parts about being a senior. You get to take more classes that you truly enjoy and that more accurately represent where your future is headed. If this class is any indication, mine is looking good.
Ringing Clear and True
Yesterday I ordered my class ring. It was about $400 out of my own pocket. But it was absolutely money well spent. I can't even imagine where that money would have gone otherwise. Clothes or shoes, probably. But now in two months I will have in my possession something that will last me a lot longer and will be invaluable to me.
The GAA has started a tradition of having ring ceremonies when you pick them up. They're optional, of course, but I can't figure out why someone wouldn't want to go. Last year one of my friends went to pick up his ring, and said that an alumnus gave a speech that has never made him more proud to be a Tar Heel. Not that I'm not always proud to be a Tar Heel, but I am more excited about going to this than most other senior moments. I never got a class ring in high school, but I doubt it would have meant as much to me as this one will.
My roommate and I got almost the exact same one. We wanted it to be decked out in school spirit, so mine will have the Old Well and BSBA on one side, and the school seal and the foot icon on the other side. The ceremony is the Sunday before Thanksgiving break, so I'll have it right on time to go home and show it off to my family.
The Last Dance
It's been done a million times. And yet I feel like it's a right of passage. Coming to the end of your career as a student at Carolina and writing about it because that's the only thing you can do to truly honor the time you have spent here. Look at me, I have already started and my senior year has just begun. I still have one more year to enjoy this southern part of heaven and accomplish all that is still on my to-do list, like running through Bynum fountain, meeting Roy Williams (we'll see how that goes), and climbing to the top of the Bell Tower.
I have to admit, I do have selfish reasons for writing this blog. I get to document everything that happens to me and my fellow Tar Heels as my time at Carolina winds down. The benefit is that I get to take you along for the ride. So let me tell you a little bit about myself first.
My name is Brecken Branstrator and I am a Journalism & Mass Communication major, with an interest in magazines. I wrote for The Daily Tar Heel last year, and while it was a great opportunity I decided I preferred the art of feature writing and the whole business of magazines. So that's what led me to apply as an editorial intern at the Carolina Alumni Review. I am also a writer for Blue & White magazine, a completely student-run publication. I am co-vice president of Carolina Association of Future Magazine Editors, a relatively new student organization that helps students learn about the industry as well as make connections and get internships. This summer I had an internship at O, The Oprah Magazine in New York City, where I had the time of my life.
But of course there is no place like Chapel Hill, and I was only too happy to come home when it was over. I am in two journalism classes this semester, as well as a Spanish class and history class for my Hispanic Studies minor. I play intramural sports when I can, but most of my time is involved in activities that will help me get a job when I graduate.
But I don't want to think about that yet. Because the minute I start letting myself worry about the future, I might forget to enjoy the present. Like how in 3 days, I will be going to the alumni basketball game, where they will be dropping the 2009 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP banner and where I might get to see Tyler Hansbrough, one of my idols. Or how my magazine writing class is creating its own magazine this semester as we work with the design class. Or how I get to go to senior bar nights and walk around campus like I own the place.
So I hope you continue to follow me on my last year. And I hope it brings back memories of your own days here: lounging on the quad, meeting friends in the Pit, or making the trek also known as the walk from South Campus. And please feel free to share any stories of your own. I know we all have a strong attachment to this place and I love to share that passion with other Tar Heels.