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Confessions of a First-Year Graduate

April 24, 2015 Opinion, Opinions Columns

Column by Kaylan Thompson, Graduate student from Murray

She’s telling me about all the students who don’t know what to do and, while my head is nodding and mouth is smiling, my brain is thinking that was me. The professor I’m talking to continues to describe what I’m taking upon myself to name: student disillusionment.

stu-dent dis-ill-u-sion-ment

(noun)

1. The false sense of security college students fall prey to that hides reality and leads them into believing they are a perpetual student. 2. A blackhole of apathy. 

I’m nearing the end of my second semester of graduate courses in mass communications and I’m just now exploring career options. Why? Because I was one of the students she’s talking about, one of the suckers pulled into student disillusionment. I took no time off between undergrad and graduate school, switching gears from creative writing to journalism partly because I didn’t want to bet my future success on my ability to write fiction and mostly because I felt lost. My plan was to buy myself some time. If the time you’re buying is graduate school hours, you must really need it. … Continue Reading

See existential crisis below

Column by Allison Borthwick, Opinion Editor

There is no true way to prove my existence. 

Everything I have ever said or done during the 21 years and two months I have “been” could be a fabrication of my imagination – or yours.  I don’t know if I am real. 

I don’t know if you are real.  I don’t know if the keyboard I am typing on is real, or if you can even read the words I am typing with it. 

I can look into a mirror and justify my existence for a brief moment that way, until I consider the possible nonexistence of that mirror. 

I can ask a complete stranger if they can see me too, but I could very well be talking to thin air. 

I can ask my parents to send a copy of my birth certificate, but there is no way of knowing whether or not they are real, whether or not the piece of paper is real or whether or not I was born physically and not mentally.  … Continue Reading

A rambling rant on communication technology

Column by Kevin Qualls, Professor of mass communications

The Internet is slow today (Tuesday). Interacting with colleagues and students in the very same building is frustrated because somehow, somewhere a fragile fiber optic cable was broken. We depend on web-based applications for almost everything.  Teaching and learning, getting a prescription refilled, filing taxes and even making a phone call are all dependent on the Internet working properly.

Whether by cyber attack or backhoe incident, all it takes to stop us dead in our tracks is a fiber-optic fracture. We are extremely vulnerable.

Yes, there are concerns about privacy, government spying, hacking and the sort. But there is something much more at stake because of our dependency on fiber optics. Our personal security is at risk. More on that later.

Not making a lot of progress on the office computer, I went home at lunch to see what could be accomplished there. No Internet at all. No telephone. Every channel on the TV frozen on whatever frame was being displayed when that bit of fiber was broken. All those services are bundled on a single copper coax cable. And that copper coax cable is part of a larger grid belonging to Time Warner Cable.  They are out of business today, too.  Go to their office, and they can’t do a thing for you. Not until they have net access again. … Continue Reading

Politicians are reflections, not activists

Campaign season, while it lays out the groundwork for the future of a politician, marks the beginning of dirt-digging and scathing review of a candidate’s past.

Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State turned Democratic presidential hopeful, has been the target of skeptics (understandably) for her use of a private email server to conduct public business.

Clinton’s secret homebrew email server scandal is worth the criticism. It was wrong and against federal policy. What is unnecessary, though, is how opponents crucify her for being a “flip-flopper” on social issues.

Clinton’s campaign launch video featured not one, but two, same-sex couples – a sign of how far she’s come on the issue, just like a lot of Americans. According to a Gallup poll, support for same-sex marriage is rising among all ages. Support from 18-29 year-olds rose from 41 percent to 78 percent between the years 1996 and 2014. The same upward curve is seen in older generations.

Though it’s a thoughtful way to address the issue, Clinton’s campaign video contrasts highly with her 2008 campaign, when she said she opposed federal same-sex marriage rights. … Continue Reading

Deadlines are deadlines

April 17, 2015 Opinion, Opinions Columns

We’re all familiar with the one-sided conversation that happens between professor and student.

(Some) professors have a zero-tolerance policy for late work. Assignments are due when they are due, and not a day later.

If you miss class and cannot be here to complete class work or turn in your homework, they require the signatures of every medical professional that diagnosed your disease – which better be serious.

If you’re sick to the point of essential paralysis or if your car breaks down and strands you on the side of the Western Kentucky Parkway, too bad. Not only can you not turn in your work that was due that day, but you will also lose attendance points.

Granted, that was a little dramatic. However, I’ve heard the following line preached to me at the beginning of almost every class I’ve ever had – no exaggeration.

“Deadlines are deadlines. If you miss one in the real world, you’ll be fired.”

Procrastination Nation – Population: NOT YOU, OR ELSE.

Unfortunately, this one-sided conversation usually ends there. … Continue Reading

The college experience of a lifetime

As defined by Murray State’s official website, a residential college is “a small, faculty-led community of students where there is an incredible opportunity for personal growth and educational development.”

The definition is probably true, as far as it goes. What the definition doesn’t tell you is that most of the benefit is shared equally between the students who are active in the college, and one other person: the college head.

Everyone thinks of the head as someone who is sacrificing everything in life to serve the needs of students, but that is hardly the case. The job isn’t easy, but the rewards are unavailable almost anywhere else.

I know this because I invested about 7 years of my wife’s life in the cause of the RC, specifically at Elizabeth Residential College. Vicki probably appreciated the many evenings of quiet, and she never complained about my absences, but we’ve been married quite a while; she probably needed a break. … Continue Reading

It’s not just the music

April 10, 2015 Opinion, Opinions Columns

Lining the back wall of Studio B at the WKMS radio station is a bookcase heavily stocked with vinyl in pastel colors, muted over the wear of time.

For some reason these were the voices that told me this was my kind of place. It wasn’t until my first year of graduate school, even through a full four years of undergraduate studies at Murray State that I realized the Price Doyle Fine Arts building even had an eighth floor.

For so long I had thought the building magically dissipated after the sixth.

I’m an intern at WKMS, now, and there’s something about being in the presence of all this vinyl that makes it feel like I’m in a perpetual summer. 

It’s similar to the way I feel getting lost in the stacks, waiting to be found by a book I’ve never read.

It turns out I’m not the only one with a soft spot for vinyl. While illegal downloading and digital streaming have hit the music industry hard, vinyl sales keep going up.

In 1993, 300,000 albums were sold, as opposed to 9.2 million albums in 2005. And that number has risen each year since. Why? With the impeccable sound quality that digital technology offers, why are so many of us opting for a reversion back to dated technology?

Vinyl is an experience. This is something I learned between my time at WKMS and listening to the Black Keys on my husband’s turntable. Thank god I married him and his Crosley.  … Continue Reading

By the people, for the people

April 10, 2015 Opinion, Opinions Columns

You know what they say about people who assume.

If you don’t know, have you been living under a rock?

Just break up the first three letters, the fourth letter and the last two letters into three separate words.

Or just Google it. You do you.

According to the journal that I started mentally 21 years ago, 400 percent of ill-founded assumptions are super frustrating. That’s a cold hard fact I will take to the grave with me.

The reason why assumptions are the worst is because they often don’t involve logic and reasoning.

I fully support any effort to stand up for what you believe is right. I’m here for factually-based, accurate efforts to make a point.

Research is important. There is a difference between defending opinions and arguing for the sake of arguing.

Since I started my time at The Murray State News, I have been around the block. I’ve been a sales representative, copy editor, Advertising Sales Manager and now Opinion Editor.

I’ve seen and experienced emotionally-based assumptions thrown at us at all fronts. … Continue Reading

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