Chesapeake, VA
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About Me

A Second Time to Opine

April 15, 2017

You may have read my blog post last year about how I was put on the staff of our university newspaper, The Collegian. Well, just last month, I got a promotion.

My friend and suite mate, Josh, and I are now co-editors of the Opinions section of The Collegian. What does this entail, exactly? Essentially, it’s our job to guide Opinions articles from unedited tadpole manuscripts to fully-fledged froggy, I’m-gonna-share-this-on-Facebook op-eds.

We have our work cut out for us. Our new editor-in-chief, Claire, said she wants us to shoot for publishing two op-eds a week, which is quite a step up from last semester, when there would only be about one or two a month. Even so, things are going swimmingly so far, and we’ve usually been able to meet that goal.

The Opinions section is a bit different than others in The Collegian. Since we *are* supposed to be the newspaper for the entirety of the campus community, it just wouldn’t do for the opinions expressed on our site to be exclusively those on staff — who are for the most part left-leaning students who want some sort of career in journalism or communication. Not precisely a microcosm of the University, right?

So, how do we remedy this situation and make sure our paper publishes Opinions articles from a vaster array of people, and therefore derive an even vaster array of Opinions?

First is simple: We outsource. The Collegian has always accepted op-eds from students who aren’t on staff, but we’re really trying to up the ante. This mostly involves reaching out to people who we think have strong opinions about a certain topic and are able to communicate those opinions cogently and coherently. Sometimes, students even come to us with op-ed pitches, and we give them tips as they iron out their pieces and see it through publication. That was the case with a stellar piece published earlier this month, “We must help the undocumented immigrants ‘living in the shadows.’” Its author, Melvin, messaged me with his first draft, and I worked with to get it ready for publication.

The other way is to put more people on as staff writers. That’s precisely what Josh and I did. We made announcements on Facebook, calling for conservative writers. Within about a week, we held interviews with people who were interested. It was a difficult decision, but I think the two young women we’ve chosen have done and will do a great job.

The actual editing of the articles themselves — for grammar and style issues — isn’t so tough. I’ve been learning how to do it for a while now in my Journalism class, Copy Editing with Mike Spear.

One thing’s for sure: With all the chances to gain experience this semester, if I’m not a top-notch editor come August, I won’t have any excuse.

P.S. You can read The Collegian yourself at thecollegianur.com!

Call me Hunter, or the chosen one, or Chuck Norris, or the Lone Wanderer from Vault 101, or anything else that's awesome because it would really boost my self-esteem. However you choose to style me, know that my intention is to give you a firsthand impression of life here at the University of Richmond. Late study nights, Saturday evening shindigs, extracurriculars, that sort of thing.

And yes, it has occurred to me that this is an About Me and I've neglected to tell you much about me. So I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia, a place just south of Norfolk that's large enough to be a county but isn't because reasons. There's not much to do in Chesapeake other than going for a dip in the Great Dismal Swamp (ill-advised) or head to a neigboring town to hit the beach, and I think that's part of the reason I spent most of my earlier childhood holed up in my room reading books or playing Playstation. 

I branched out in my high school years, though, and I've developed affinites for genealogy, running, film, and photography. I am not a man of many talents, though among them include the remarkable power to turn my thumb all the way backwards, the ablility to tell you almost everything you'd ever want to know about the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which unfortunately has been declared non-canon, thanks to J.J. Abrams), and the astonishing skill to cook Minute Rice in 58 seconds. My playlist includes mostly oldies, and my favorite movies all came out before I was born. So you might say I'm a bit of a hipster. I've even got my own snazzy red Polaroid camera, which is practically a license to hipster in this day and age, right?

So, yeah, that's me. In conclusion, read on! Hope you enjoy my blog posts!

Why UR?

I'm not a very decisive person. During my senior year of high school, I envied the kids who were certain straight from the get-go where they wanted to go to college. I had applied to several great schools that I thought could offer me a great education, but I had trouble picking which one was the best fit for me. I constantly held debates against myself, weighing the pros and the cons of each school in my head and occasionally and occasionally audibly voicing my concerns a la Gollum: "How about this one?" "No, no, too big. And too far away. Going back and forth to home could prove to be a real bummer." "Good point, but look at their alumni network! They could hook you up with a job fresh out of graduation!" "Ah, true, but check out these student reviews online. You really want to go to a place with this reputation?" "Do you believe everything you read in those reviews?" "Of course I do. They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." And so on and so on. I still hadn't made a decision by mid-April, so the jury was still out on where I was going just two weeks before the deadline. Pressure from my parents and peers to choose just kept piling on heavier and heavier. Around this time I went to a Richmond Scholars visit, which afforded prospective students who'd been offered scholarships from the University the chance to get a glimpse of life as a student here. The visit was really what sealed the deal for me. The beautiful campus was a joy to explore even in the surprisingly sweltering spring heat. I had the opportunity to sit in on a class, which wasn't very big. Richmond's small class sizes allow for intimate discussions as opposed to drawling lectures and make it rather easy to develop close relationships with professors. I've found that most of them encourage you to meet with them in their spare time, something that might be more difficult to do at a larger institution. While at the Scholars visit, I talked with my host for hours. He gave me a bare bones, down-to-earth explanation of what he thought of Richmond. And I know it's a total cliche, but there's one thing he told me that I really think rings true here at Richmond and life in general: It can be a great and rewarding experience, but only if you put in the effort to make it one. Bottom line, I think Richmond gives students the resources needed to make their college years more than worthwhile, moreso than any other school I checked out. We've got top-notch academics to satisfy any hungry mind, we've got a plethora of extracurriculars to enjoy, tons of chances to broaden our horizons (literally and figuratively), and of course, we've got the chow at D-Hall. All that's really what made me want to spend the next four years of my life here.