I’m a reporter for The Crescent, the school newspaper, which basically just means I have a license to be weird when approaching random students on campus. And it’s great. I’ll get assigned an article on the current theatre show, so I’ll go up to someone I know and he’ll point me to some other people I should talk to. I talk to those people and I ask them some questions. Sometimes they’re awkward and it makes me more awkward. Sometimes they are eloquent and mature adults and I feel like a green freshman who doesn’t know the first thing about Crossfit, athletic training, or women’s golf. Which is true.
One time I got lost trying to find a professor I was supposed to interview and caught her just as she was leaving her office. I then had a rolling interview while she walked from her office to a meeting, in which she talked and I rapidly tried to take notes on my phone with frozen thumbs. I felt like the paparazzi trying to keep up with a big star as she casually chatted about her upcoming projects. My roommate said beforehand that she was very intimidating, very type A. But she wasn’t so scary, I thought, after I had breathlessly said goodbye and tried to shake the numbness out of my hands.
I met with a student designer who is a kind of a big deal here a couple days ago (very cool, senior goals) and found out he was actually soft-spoken and easy to converse with. I met with the director of the fall play and barely had to say a word to launch him on a speech about the existential themes of the play. Theatre people are great. If you get the chance to interview one, it’ll be the easiest assignment of your life.
I arrived one Saturday afternoon soaked to the bone- my hair was plastered to my face and my jeans were 5 shades darker- at Crossfit Newberg to talk to the owner. Rap music was pounding as buff people did pullups and brought giant barbells crashing down to the floor ever thirty seconds. He was the nicest guy, with a passion for fitness and a community mindset. He even invited me and the photographer with me to come try it out sometime. I e-mailed a junior about his views on protests and learned how much more qualified he was to write the article than myself. I e-mailed 10 more people about track, or the ski club, and got no reply.
Time flies when you’re having fu- I mean, writing 2 essays, reading hundreds of pages for class on Thursday, and trying to find time to sleep between study sessions- and the added pressure of pounding out 2-3 articles makes the process seem anything but fun. In the moment, I often see it as just one more thing I have to do.
But I’ve learned what the true power of being a reporter is- it’s a license to be weird.
I would never talk to most of the people I now have on my own. But why not? What do I have to lose? Certainly not a reputation (that got thrown out the window the second the guys on my floor discovered they could roast me easily.) So, shoot ’em an e-mail, why not? They don’t know you! Just talk to that one kid on the second floor, I know she could give me a good quote if I asked!
So much is happening on this campus alone, but you’d never know just by looking at the campus, dead empty on a Saturday morning. There are plans in the works, aspirations, and frustrations of athletes, professors, and designers alike. Just because your path doesn’t routinely intersect with someone else’s is no excuse to avoid them. I’ve learned that most people don’t mind giving you ten minutes of their day. A lot of times they are delighted to be asked. Some students are more nervous than I am to be interviewed. Granted, George Fox isn’t really what you’d call a “tough crowd”. But I’ve learned that a smile, a little confidence, and a genuine curiosity can go a long way, no matter where you are. People like feeling like they have a story worth writing about. And a picture doesn’t hurt. Most people like pictures of themselves.