Dear Cactus

It Has Been a Fun Run!

Monique Irish, Cactus Contributor

Oh Cactus, dear, sweetest Cactus… it seems like just yesterday my advisor was recommending the Publications MSC110 course for spring of 2013. I was initially confused because during my first semester, I was unsure whether or not a campus newspaper even existed, because only one issue had been published for the entire semester and it wasn’t released until finals week at the end of fall 2012. It is safe to say we have come a long way since then! We have endured one learning experience and technical difficulty after another, but the Cactus continues to grow and flourish.

Only Cactus staff members know the stress of scrambling to get things finished and in on time to meet the fast approaching deadlines. Every time a new issue is published, most members can agree it is like a shared sense of pride and accomplishment transcended into a fresh stack of fine print and pictures. “WE MADE THAT!” Distribution days are great, because I love to pile my arms with as many copies as I can carry to drop off at various buildings and offer to passersby, without taking no for an answer. My favorite part is walking away saying, “Don’t forget to read my articles!”

Sure, distributing the Cactus is fun, but that is only the cherry on top. The real fun, for me at least, is going out and attending events to write about. You know, getting the scoop! I have never been much of a shy gal, but honestly at first, attending events by myself and standing around taking pictures of large groups of strangers was weird and even a little uncomfortable for me BUT ONLY IN THE BEGINNING. It was not long before I got a badge to flash, and it did not take long before I found my groove; soon, it became my favorite thing to do, and it still is! I learned it is nice and comfortable to go to events with a friend or classmate for the first couple of times, but if you go alone you are forced to break out of your comfort zone and be comfortable with being social with anyone and everyone that may cross your path. It is a great way to extend your network and meet new people and build friendships that may sustain longer than the given event. PS to all the “Single Pringles” out there, asking to interview a cutie or two is a great way to break the ice and get your mingle on! I have met so many interesting characters attending events, most of the time they recognized and said hi to me long after we met, giving me that strong sense of community! Bottom line is, being a part of the newspaper can open countless doors! Not to mention, you can get into some of the events for free, just flash that fancy little badge and you are in for the win! I also loved the fact that sometimes I went to events that I would not have traditionally found “appealing” but you can bet that I surely went and had a great time anyway!

The thing about it is, it is not only about just showing up and taking a few pictures and getting a few interviews. Participating and keeping an open mind and making observations and being PRESENT and in the moment is essential, and what it is all about! How else can you write an article to its greatest potential if you do not get the full experience for yourself?! Even after the article is written the experience is yours to keep, so you might as well make the most of it. One time I covered the S.T.E.M. club and their participation in an educational event at the Biosphere 2. I got in for free, and I even got to tag along with the club for a private tour of the incredible facilities afterward! I also got to meet and interview a College Humor comedian at CAC. Working for the Campus newspaper is fun and it’s exciting and even if journalism isn’t among your career paths, it is still a valuable experience to have under the belt of the college experience and life experience alike. Writing for the Cactus newspaper is one of the brightest highlights of my CAC career and it is so bittersweet leaving it behind. That is precisely how I know that photojournalism is the career that I want to pursue. It feeds my thirst for adventure and social stimulation with a variety of many different events to attend and so many topics to write on. Look at me now, writing to you from the distant land of China where I am learning Chinese in hopes to up my chances of making it to National Geographic someday. When that day comes, I can say that it all started here with my beloved CAC Cactus! It has been a fun run, I will miss it dearly. I recommend signing up for it next semester without hesitation because you have no idea what you could be missing out on! Talk to your advisor about becoming a Cactus member today!d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);