I’m a designer?

This semester I took a design class. I had a bit of Photoshop and InDesign knowledge, but I had never touched Illustrator before in my life and was the least qualified person to know what how a “good” design differed from a “bad” one, so I came in very hesitant of my capabilities. But as the semester went on, I discovered that I wasn’t as bad at design as I originally thought I would be, and that designing was ~fun~.

One of my favorite assignments of the semester was to create a feature spread of the San Antonio Express-News piece, “A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity.” The photographer, Lisa Krantz, spent years following Hector Garcia around and documenting his daily battle with his fluctuating weight. The photos were beautiful and I was so stoked to try to bring this beautiful piece to life.

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It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m really proud of how my amateur design skills pulled through.

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Check out a PDF here: hector-photo-design

Where is that Senioritis I was promised?

Senioritis. A time of laziness, taking easy electives and wearing pajama bottoms to school. Or at least that’s what I was promised.

I’m halfway through the first semester of senior year, and it is the antithesis of being a lazy nearly-done college student (granted, more often than not I’m in class braless and wearing clothes that I may or may not have slept in the night before).

I’ve been surviving senior year as a journalism student by following a very loose schedule:

  • Set seven alarms, but probably still sleep through my 8 a.m. followed by my 9:30 a.m.
  • Shower every couple of days. Not because I have the time or the energy, but because I am no longer in Europe and therefore must meet the American standards of personal hygiene to not be shunned from society.
  • Have a panic attack, convincing myself all my friends hate me and my boyfriend is going to break up with me and my cat doesn’t love me.
  • Spend money I don’t have on food that will only make me fat.
  • Have another panic attack, for reasons I can’t quite identify.
  • Put on the facade of being a functional human being.
  • Feed the cat so he doesn’t starve.
  • Have nightly panic attack around 11 p.m. about my future. Stay up until 1 a.m. frantically working on internship applications until my fingers hurt.

We’re all at that point in the semester where everything is piling on and we all want to die. I’ve been doing this for four years now. I’m used to that mid-semester feeling. But now it’s different. Between the projects, the group meetings, the papers, the pitches and the stories is this huge, grotesque, impending shadow of the unknowable future.

In two months, I begin my final semester of college. And for the first time in my life, I don’t know where I am going to be six months. Just six months. The thought is terrifying for anyone, but particularly those who struggle with crippling anxiety and an uncontrollable need to have every single thing planned out, such as myself. I get panicked if I don’t have a plan for the weekend. Not having a plan for post-graduation is sending me over the edge.

My boyfriend keeps telling me that I’m going to be fine. And I know, deep deep deeeeeep down, that I am in fact going to be fine. And you, fellow college student/senior reading this, are going to be fine, too.

If there’s one thing I learned this past summer while studying abroad, it’s how big and beautiful the world is. There is so much out there. I promise you and I promise myself, we are not going to wind up back in our hometown suburbias working at Pier 1 the rest of our lives (even though I love P1). Everything that is meant to work out will work out. It’s moments like now, when I’m sitting here typing and eating Poptarts at 1 in the morning instead of sleeping, that I need to remind myself this.

That blackboard discussion board that you forgot to post to this week (and, okay, last week too)? It’s only a couple of points. That exam you weren’t prepared for? It doesn’t mean you’re going to fail out of the class. Those internship applications you haven’t gotten around to? There are other places to apply.

Slow down. Take care of yourself first. You’ll be okay.

And no, everyone and your cat doesn’t hate you, so stop staying up all night worrying about it.

Thank You, Joel Gold

Joel J. Gold was the founder and first Editor-In-Chief of The Maneater student newspaper. He died Oct. 14, 2014 at 82 years old. This week, The Maneater ran a column Gold wrote in 1985 about the meaning of the paper’s name on the front page underneath a special gold masthead as a tribute.

This issue is beautiful — not just because of the gold masthead, but it is also the MOVE Food issue that MacKenzie and production beautifully executed, the Veteran’s Day profiles my lovely writers worked so hard on these past few weeks ran in a double-truck, and one of my writers wrote a really cool feature story about an indie director that I’m really happy with (I sound like a mom bragging about her kids’ accomplishments, but whatever I’m proud of my beat writers, okay?).

With an issue this cool, I thought I’d write a letter to the one who started it all.

Gold

Dear Joel Gold,

In 1955, you took over The Missouri Student campus paper and founded The Maneater, “the dangerous — bold, fearsome, watch-your-step-in-my-jungle tough” publication (despite learning later a tiger becomes a maneater when it is too weak to catch its usual prey).

You created a new editorial policy — “If you want to keep us out, better bar the door. And don’t try getting rough or screaming ‘libel’ when a Maneater reporter crashes your meetings. When The Maneater gets mad, all hell is going to break loose. You’ve been warned.” To this day, 60 years after you founded the paper, these words hang around the office (and above my bed in my apartment).

Joel Gold, thank you.

I began writing for the paper the summer before my freshman year. I was so eager to be writing for a college publication and I remember being excited and terrified that I had the opportunity to do so so early on. When I came to campus during Summer Welcome, my first article had already been published in the June issue and I couldn’t wait for the fall to arrive.

The Maneater has been, without a doubt, the greatest part of my college experience so far.

On a campus of nearly 35,000 students, it can be easy to be swallowed up. The Maneater has given me my own little niche on campus. Joining this paper has given me more than just a place to practice for my future career in journalism. The Maneater has given me a place to belong. The Maneater has given me a home and the friends I have made here have become like my family.

There have been times I’ve been overwhelmed with the late nights of editing in the office, the stress of stories falling through last minute or coming in subpar, and the struggle of finding interesting content. There have been times when I was tired of putting up with my other friends telling me “Nobody reads The Maneater,” or tweeting sassy #biasedjournalism messages about us. But, despite the bad things, I love being a part of The Maneater.

The Maneater gives me a reason to keep trudging through this bleak semester. Without the paper, I have no idea what I would be doing right now. Thank you so much for creating this place.

When I graduate and spend my boring nights of adulthood watching “St. Elmo’s Fire” and reminiscing about my college days, I’ll think about this paper. I’ll think about coming in for intern nights as a wide-eyed freshman writer dreaming of being on the #EdBoart, of odd staff box quotes, of interviewing quirky sources like the Seuss Man and an indie actor with the body of a Greek god, of being thrown into the fountain during Dead Editor’s Night and, of course, of the degenerate nights of Hoochfest.

Above all, I’ll think about the hours I spent hanging out in the basement of the Student Center with my friends.

And it’s all because you, Joel Gold, started a student-run paper 60 years ago.

Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Sincerely,

Claudia

She’s a Maneater

Today the July issue of The Maneater was published, the website is completely finished with its awesome redesign, and the next issue we produce will be published August 27 — the first week of school.

That realization hit me today. The beginning of sophomore year is right around the corner, and soon I’ll have little wide-eyed Maneaters coming into the office.

I’ve already had a handful of “baby journos” write some really stellar stories for me. A couple of them have already been asking me about how they can apply for a beat writer position and, in one case, “what is involved with eventually becoming an editor?”

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Oh my god, they’re all just so cute. I can’t wait to meet them and love them all. The semester can’t come fast enough.

It’s so funny — I remember being in their position last summer. I was so nervous about everything I submitted to Heather and Jack and Jill and Bia. All of my stories were accompanied with “I hope this works! I can change anything that you don’t like,” (implied: “PLEASE LIKE ME I’M TRYING SO HARD THIS IS SO NERVE-WRACKING UGH”). And now I have little babies asking me the same questions I asked old Ed Board. Who’da thunk it?

From the stories that potential Campus Life babies have turned in already, I’m really optimistic about the content the section will produce this year. I’ve had some really great feature stories come in, and I’m hoping that this year Campus Life will be more defined and established than it was last year. (I also hope the baby journos appreciate the gifs I put in my listserv emails, because I put a lot of thought into them).

And after my initial freak out (which still pops up every few days) about Long Reads, I’m really excited to begin the series, too. I have a few ideas that I think will be really cool, the first one already lined up (September 17!), and I’m excited to see what happens (and also a little terrified).

I’m sure there will be times as Campus Life Editor where I will be totally overworked and stressed and burnt out, but I am really so very happy that I found my niche to belong to on campus and that I have my lovely Maneaters. I miss my Maneater family dearly — both this year’s Ed Board and last year’s.

I can’t wait to get back to Columbia and see all of their beautiful faces. I can’t wait to meet all the incoming freshmen. I can’t wait to work.

Is it August yet?

60 Things I Learned My First Year of College

1. If you want to make friends the first few days, keep your door open. People will wander in and start a conversation. Maybe about Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome” or how much of a bitch Zooey Deschanel is in “(500) Days of Summer.”

2. Staying up until 2 a.m. weeknights is completely normal. So is taking a three hour nap between classes.

3. Drinking milk straight from the carton is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

Milk was a bad choice

4. Treat the people on your floor like family. Take care of them, go to events together, have movie nights. After all, you will be living together for nine months — it’d be good if you were all friends.

5. College isn’t like high school. You will be friends with a lot of different people who you would have never spoken to in a high school setting.

6. Making friends at frat parties is astonishingly easy to do.

7. Don’t expect to meet the love of your life the first day. The likelihood of finding your soul mate as soon as you arrive on campus (think, Lily and Marshall from “How I Met Your Mother”) is very, very slim.

8. There are more genuinely good people than bad in this world. People will go out of their way to help you out and be nice and show you where the bathroom is at parties.

9. But remember that creeps still exist.

10. If you’re a girl and play your cards right, you never have to pay for alcohol.

11. Beware of classes that begin before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

12. This isn’t high school anymore — waiting until the day before the test to study is not a smart decision.

13. Buy the $150 football season tickets. It’s worth it.

14. However, buying the basketball season tickets is not worth it.

15. Go to class. Always. Treat your classes like a job. Study, do your homework, get good grades. It’s important.

16. Healthy food doesn’t exist when you’re living on a meal plan. You will gain weight. Embrace the love handles.

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17. Take advantage of school activities. Go to the free concerts, go to the Vagina Monologues, go to the movie screenings.

18. How to stream movies online.

19. Living in community-style dorms is the way to go. It might seem awful to have to share a bathroom with your whole floor and use showers covered in other people’s hair, but everyone is much more social.

20. If you’re up before noon on the weekend, you’re up too early.

21. If you come back to your dorm a drunken shit show, your friends will record you and give you shit about it for weeks afterward. But it’s all in good fun. Mostly.

22. Guys are complete and total idiots.

23. There’s no shame in enjoying frat parties.

24. Don’t go out every weekend. Staying in and watching “The Incredibles” on a Saturday night is healthy every now and then.

25. You will have to take classes you hate. There is no escaping it.

exhaustion

26. Get involved early on in the year. Joining the school paper the summer before I even came to campus was one of the best decisions I made all year.

27. Don’t let people get under your skin

28. Getting involved with someone else on your floor is probably not the best idea.

29. There are people who seem to think making out while watching a movie in a room with 10 other people isn’t weird for everyone else sitting around them. It is. Please don’t do it. 

30. Keep an open mind. Your views on just about everything will shift and change throughout the year.

31. If you’re ever invited to a party called Hoochfest, GO TO IT, DAMMIT!

ready to party

32. Old-school note taking with a pen and notebook is better than taking notes on your laptop.

33. Befriend your PA’s/CA’s/RA’s. They’re actually really cool.

34. What Tinder is. And more importantly, to avoid it at all costs.

35. How to incorporate terms such as “hella,” “ratchet,” “naw,” “yee,” “fropping,” “hatchnasty,” “swerve,” “totes,” “clutch,” “crunk,” turnt,” “sloppy,” “turn up,” and “fratting,” into everyday conversations.

36. Taking shots of Tequila and Scotch out of sadness is not the way to solve your problems.

37. Ironically, geology does not “rock.”

38.  Nobody cares about who you were in high school

39. Surviving a night of fropping with your girlfriends is a great bonding experience. Drunken girl talk has a way of bringing people together.

40. Relationship advice from friends often comes in the form of “hit it and quit it” and “get it in.”

41. If you’re stressed out, sit in the hot tub for two hours. If your school doesn’t have a hot tub, that’s just another reason why Mizzou is superior.

42. If you have a car, people will ask you to drive them everywhere. Especially to HyVee for the Chinese buffet.

43. This is the time of your life when it is the most acceptable to make stupid decisions. At least, I like to think so.

44. Never come between a girl and “The Bachelor,” especially when the bachelor is Juan Pablo. Do not talk when Juan Pablo is on that television. Do not Google and spoil who Juan Pablo chooses in the end. Do not call Juan Pablo unattractive (even though he is a complete moron).

45. If you do not enter college a fan of stupid pop/dance music, there is a good chance you will come to find enjoyment in it by the end of the year after dancing to “Talk Dirty” and “Gas Pedal” every time you go out.

46. If you find a friend who makes you tea at 1 a.m. and gives you boy advice, keep them a friend for life.

47. Some people just don’t know how to pick up on social cues, and there is a good chance they will never learn.

48. When you live on a floor where boys outnumber girls two to one, ESPN will be on the TV lounge 24/7.

49. In the words of Lemony Snicket, “First impressions are often entirely wrong.”

50. Going off of number 49 — when first meeting people, do not play a game of Never Have I Ever. Everybody comes off in a very negative light.

51. Don’t judge someone else for being “sloppy.” There’s a good chance you will have your own sloppy night in the near future. It’s college, it happens.

52. Never hesitate. If you do, you will miss out on opportunities. I’ve learned the hard way.

53. When going to parties in winter, never leave your coat in the open — especially not sitting in a chair, unoccupied, by the door. Drunk girls who didn’t think to bring their own coats will steal yours for the walk home and then you’ll have to trek across campus to your dorm in 15-degree freezing rain wearing short sleeves. And then you’ll have to spend $100 to replace your stolen coat.

54. Watching “The Walking Dead” with a group is ten times better than watching it alone.

55. Dinosaur-on-human pornography is a thing.

56. When bitches are being bitches, making an angry playlist and having a mini dorm rave with your friends helps. I recommend “Sweet As Whole” by Sarah Bareilles or “Bitches Ain’t Shit” by Ben Folds.

57. Gumby’s pizza and pokey stix are heaven on earth.

58. It’s okay to have bad days.

59. Flappy Bird ruins lives.

60. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

CampusLife030

Today a very special issue of The Maneater hit newsstands around campus. Not only was it the annual “Mizzou in Review” special edition, but it was also the first issue where the new ed board took complete control of their section.

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Over this last week, the Campus Life section was under my management for the first time. I pitched out stories, I checked in with my writers’ progress every few days, I made edits (my former editor and Campus Life dad wrote a killerrrr story for me, which was complete role reversal and almost too strange to deal with). I uploaded my content to the website, I came up with tweets and faceposts, I sent photo and graphics pitches.

I was busy, but it was a blast.

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Fun as it was, this week came with challenges. I struggled to come up with an idea for a graphic about HIV treatment, I had a newbie write a story for me who didn’t even have a remote grasp on the basics of AP style, I had to do last-minute event coverage (and by “last minute” I mean I was literally asked to cover something 10 minutes before it started in exchange for Hotbox cookies) and I’ve already begun searching for online and print story ideas for the summer.

I’m so incredibly proud of this first issue and June 4, the date of the 2014-2015 school year’s first official issue, can’t come soon enough. I can’t wait to have a gaggle of wide-eyed freshmen journos fight for my pitches over the summer. I can’t wait to hire beat writers in August. I can’t wait to have a Maneater child of my own and see the newly-formed Campus Life family grow over the years.

And I most definitely can’t wait for next year’s Dead Editors Night.

Dead Editors Night — a night of mass chaos, turmoil and anarchy in the newsroom. When the new editors take over the old editors die, and all of the newly deceased editors drink an unfathomable amount of alcohol and then proceed to sabotage the new editors as they’re putting their first issue together.

Last night the dead editors swarmed into the newsroom bellowing war cries and armed with silly string. They danced on desks to “Drunk in Love,” they ripped up notebooks and phonebooks and threw the pages into the air, they opened a bag of coffee grounds and poured it all over the floor, they paraded around the office taking selfless and screaming things like “Campus Life foreva!”

And then came the fountain.

Almost everyone ended up in the fountain outside the Student Center one way or the other, either by their own will (mostly the drunken dead editors who dove in) or by force (ex. me, who was pushed in by the dead CSN editor and then repeatedly dunked by my Campus Life dad).

This week has been crazy, and it’s only the first taste of what my life is going to revolve around over the next year.

I’m going to spend an ungodly amount of time in the Maneater office, constantly be searching Twitter for stories and awkwardly editing articles with writers. I’m going to be tired. I’m going to be stressed. I’m going to be busy. I’m going to complain. I’m going to be up late at night, banging my head against my desk and saying, “What have I gotten myself into?”

But no matter how overwhelmed and stressed out I get, being a part of the paper is completely worth it. I’m elated to be a part of the Maneater family, and I can’t wait for all that is to come.

Feel like MOVEing — er, I mean, Campus Life-ing?

I remember being an overly-excited incoming freshman, anxiously anticipating my impending college life. I couldn’t wait to move into the dorms, meet new people and make new friends, and, above all, write for the student newspaper.

I’ve been writing for The Maneater since last May. I was scrolling through the “Mizzou Class of 2017” Facebook page when I saw a post from a girl named Heather, the current editor of MOVE Magazine, the arts and entertainment section of The Maneater. I Facebook stalked her relentlessly until I mustered up the courage to send her a painfully awkward message, asking if I could write for the paper. And thus, I had found my way into The Maneater world.

I fell in love. I fell in love with The Maneater — with the responsibility of a weekly beat to cover, with the freedom of having my own column, with being able to pick up as many pitches for MOVE as I wished, with meeting interesting and often inspirational people who were always so happy to be covered, and with the editors who have always been so nice and let me show up to their parties uninvited. I’ve loved being involved and finding my own little niche on campus.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the process of applying for a position on the editor board — specifically, MOVE and Campus Life. After answering numerous questions, responding to hypothetical situations, trying desperately to figure out how to work Adobe InDesign, and interviewing with next year’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, the positions were filled yesterday.

I am the new Campus Life editor for the 2014-15 school year.

Initially, I had (and still have) a lot of mixed emotions. On one hand, I am incredibly honored, humbled, and grateful that I was trusted with leading the section. On the other, my heart was broken because I failed to get the position I had my sights set on since I wrote my first story for the section — MOVE editor.

I’ve always loved all things A&E. I nerd out about movies and television and books and music and concerts and plays and art. I want nothing more than to move to a big city somewhere in the world and work at a big entertainment magazine, where I can cover film festivals and interview Grammy-winning musicians. MOVE reviews movies and previews concerts and profiles artists. MOVE was what I wanted.

In the hours following the news, I received various texts and tweets from friends and fellow Maneaters congratulating me on the position. I thanked everyone, congratulated the very deserving girl who will be the next MOVE editor, continued the two hour drive back to CoMo from home, went into my room, called my mom, and proceeded to have a panic attack.

I had ideas for MOVE. I was confident in my ability to edit MOVE and edit it well, with every bit of snark and creativity that Heather brought to the role this past year. I had already thought of potential story ideas to pitch out, I was eager to hire columnists, I had a few ideas for regular features and how to balance the print content with online-exclusive content, and I was excited to be a part of the mysterious MOVE editor traditions that Heather had mentioned to me.

I can’t say that I have the same confidence when it comes to Campus Life. This was the section’s first year, and as one of Campus Life’s only consistent writers I know firsthand that the section was never really defined. Campus Life covers student features, university research and produces bi-weekly Long Reads stories online. It’s broad, it’s vague, it’s somewhat ambiguous. As I was hyperventilating in my room yesterday and laying in bed, staring at the ceiling last night (I only managed to get a whopping three hours of sleep, partially thanks to someone pulling the fire alarm at 5 a.m.), I was terrified about the task I have in front of me — of shaping Campus Life into a more definitive section; of producing Long Reads stories, a feat I have never attempted to approach before; of coming up with story ideas that aren’t completely dull.

Then I started thinking of what a friend told me last night, “This was the section’s first year. The beauty of that is you could totally take Campus Life and make it whatever you want it to be.”

And she’s right. I have the control to turn Campus Life into whatever I want it to be. Sure, I might not have any idea how to do that right now, but I will eventually. I’ll learn what works and what doesn’t as time goes on. Long Reads won’t seem as daunting after I tackle the first few stories. I can fill Campus Life with student profiles and make it fun. I’ve written some great stories for the section this year — stories about student veterans, artists looking to spread love, and people overcoming hardships. These are the stories I want to fill Campus Life with next year.

I’m excited for next year. I’m excited to be the second Campus Life editor, to take new writers under my wing and become their friend, to create a great section. I have my anxieties, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get my first pick, but I got something, and for that I am beyond thankful.

This is an opportunity for me to grow and diversify as a journalist. And with the experience as Campus Life editor listed on my resume, I am one step closer to moving to that big city and working for that big entertainment magazine.

To the 2014-2015 school year, bring it on.

A Newbie’s Adventures at True/False

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Yesterday I forsook my classes and spent 12 hours trudging around Downtown Columbia, using the last of my Shakespeare’s and Starbucks gift cards, standing in Q lines for an hour, and, above all, watching documentaries.

This weekend is the True/False Film Festival— a documentary film festival that comes to Columbia every year in late February/early March. I found out about the festival over the summer, but until this weekend I had no idea how huge it really is.

43 documentaries and three series of shorts are screened over four days at nine venues throughout the Downtown area. Films shown at True/False sometimes go on to be nominated for Academy Awards (such as “The Act of Killing,” which is currently nominated for an Oscar and was at True/False last year), which is completely incredible. Having the opportunity to view some of the year’s best documentaries and participate in a Q&A session with the film’s creators and subjects after the showing is an amazing experience. So far, I have seen three films— “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” “Rich Hill,” and “Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart,” and I have plans to see “Private Violence.”

True/False-goers line up for "Rich Hill." Around 300 Q's were given for the screening.
True/False-goers line up for “Rich Hill.” Around 300 Q’s were given for the screening.

Along with the films, True/False takes over Columbia with art and music from all over the world. Last night an indie band from France performed before a film. Thursday, a latino band from Mexico City. There are pieces of artwork in alleyways and outside theaters. Hipsters with beards and dreadlocks and ear gagues litter the sidewalks as they stand in Q lines or walk to panels with their Canon in one hand and a coffee from Lakota in the other.

But above attending True/False as a spectator, yesterday I had the privilege and honor of covering the fest for MOVE.

I wielded that press pass like it had magical powers and it was invigorating. Scrambling to write reviews between screenings while frantically chugging caramel Frappuccinos is my equivalent to skydiving or bungee jumping or other things normal people do for an adrenaline rush. There’s nothing like the feeling of cranking out a review in record time before heading directly to another Q-line.

I love every moment I’ve spent at True/False— laughing with the fierce Q Queens, making friends while waiting in line for an hour and a half, sitting beside filmmakers at screenings, attending panels led by Criticwire’s editor Sam Adams with other entertainment journalists, and spending a ridiculous amount of money on merchandise.

One major highlight of True/False is the March March, a parade that stretches down 9th street.

The True/False March March parade
The True/False March March parade

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the parade, but I sure was not expecting this. There were people dressed up as Teletubbies, Buzz Lightyear, and Mario. Marching Mizzou played their drums and trumpets. A giant brain was rolled down the street. It was like something out of a really, really weird dream.

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I found an old person at March March dressed as Winnie the Pooh and I was so happy.
I found an old person at March March dressed as Winnie the Pooh and I was so happy.

How lucky am I to have True/False within walking distance from my campus? I can’t wait to continue the festivities this weekend, and I’m looking forward to the next three years.

One Mizzou: Love always wins

Today love proved it was stronger than hate. Today I joined over approximately 2,000 other students to build a human wall, blocking the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest against Michael Sam, the former Mizzou defensive end who announced Sunday that he is gay.

The event, Stand With Sam, was organized on Facebook this week, with nearly 5,000 attendees. The plan: make a human wall, arm and arm, wearing black and gold, to peacefully protest Westboro’s “preachings” of hate.

Westboro Baptist Church. This “church” is based out of Kansas and is known nationwide for its extremist, intolerant beliefs. They travel around the country protesting anything they deem “sinful,” particularly homosexuality. (They also frequently protest the funerals of fallen soldiers because they believe God is punishing the United States).

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

This is what I don’t understand: where does all the hate come from? Why are people so full of hatred? What makes Westboro travel hours out of their way just to wave signs saying “Death Penalty 4 Fags?” Why do people try to impose their own personal views onto others?

Sometimes the world can be an ugly place, especially the people in it.

But today, the world is beautiful. And it was made that way by those who came out to support Michael Sam. People passed out “Stand with Sam” buttons, wore shirts that read “We’re All Como Sexual,” and held up signs with “I Love You” written on them. They stood in 27 degree weather for two hours, holding the wall strong. They put their arms around one another and sang the alma mater. They chanted M-I-Z Z-O-U and M-I-Z S-A-M. They turned their backs on the Westboro picketing.

Thousands of students came out to support Michael Sam. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Thousands of students came out to support Michael Sam. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
One Mizzou. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
One Mizzou. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtest stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Later this afternoon after Westboro left and the wall disbanded, this appeared on the group’s Twitter:

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Pathetic?

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Today I was so incredibly proud of my school and this town. No matter what your beliefs are, Mizzou supports their own. We are a family. We are one. And no matter how much hate exists or how strong that hate is, love will always triumph.

Today, I love journalism

I love days like today. Days where it’s 40 degrees outside but after the sub-zero temperatures of the past month it feels like spring. Days when you find a clothing sale happening in the Mizzou Store and grab a MIZ SEC T-shirt for a mere $5. Days when you’re in a super positive mood for no reason. Days when all of your favorite sans-“Frozen” songs play on the Disney Pandora station as you procrastinate from studying for your geology test next week. Days when you have a hoard of the new cookie dough Oreo cookies stocked in your dorm. Days when you’re finally recovering from a cold that has been plaguing your immune system for the past week and a half. Days when you don’t care that you’re once again going to be single on Valentine’s Day because you have friends you can watch “The Princess Bride” and stuff your face with. Days when you find yourself walking down Rollins street with a spring in your step, inspired.

Today is a good day. Today I am absolutely inspired by journalism.

Lately I’ve been constantly busy with my duties at The Maneater. Between my beat, my column, and picking up the occasional pitch for MOVE, I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with the workload. Often I’ve found myself sitting in my lounge, working on a story, and venting my frustrations aloud to the people who are unfortunate enough to be in my vicinity.

“I hate journalism. I’m so sick of it. Only crazy people want to do this as a career,” I’d say. Or maybe something more along the lines of, “Everybody here is so obsessed with journalism. Their lives revolve around it and I don’t want my life to revolve around my career. I don’t want journalism to be my life.” Then I’d proceed to begin my writing ritual: complain how the story I’ve been assigned is boring, procrastinate on calling sources, freak out about interviews, bang my head against my desk (sometimes literally), stay up late writing a story I’m convinced is complete shit, and grimace as I email it to my editor.

But through all the complaining, through all the stress, through all the time consumption, there is nothing I want to do more in this world than journalism.

I want to write. I want to tell stories. There’s nothing like pouring your heart and soul out into a piece and seeing it in print. It’s an incredible rush, there’s no better feeling than knowing that you were the one who created it.

Today I went to journalism class. J1100: Principles of American Journalism, a class taught by my favorite professor I’ve had since beginning college. She’s worked as a reporter and editor at the St. Petersburg Times, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. This woman is an inspiration. She has so many stories from her time in the field about giving a voice to the voiceless, telling the stories of people whose stories would never be told otherwise, serving the public good. Even her simple motto of “Don’t Panic!” inspires- it’s exactly what I need to hear every week as I’m continuously hit by waves of work.

Today, we were told to know the definition of journalism: “Journalism is a set of transparent, independent procedures aimed at gathering, verifying and reporting truthful information of consequence to citizens in a democracy.” (Write it, memorize it, do it!) She showed us a video of Bob Woodward giving advice on reporting and offered a bit of advice herself (“If you remember nothing else from this class, make it this: get your ass out of the chair and check it out!“) After sitting through her lectures, I leave feeling motivated to write and create.

Today’s lecture only reinforced the journalism high I’ve been riding since yesterday when I interviewed Frank Pavich, the director of a documentary called “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” for a MOVE story. “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is one of the films coming to the True/False Film Festival in a few weeks. True/False is a film festival that is based out of Columbia, where some of the year’s best documentaries are shown, there are panels held with the creators, and there are secret screenings.

I could practically feel the excitement and passion radiating off of Pavich during our Skype interview. He was nothing short of giddy when he spoke about this film he had invested three years of his life into making and how “totally incredible” it was for it to be included in True/False. It was the best interview I’ve had in a long time. I loved speaking with this man. I loved writing about him and the success he’s been having with “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”

There’s nothing like the rush you get from a great interview and a quality story. The feature I wrote for “Jodorowsky’s Dune” rejuvenated the passion I’ve had for journalism since I was a sophomore in high school taking the Introduction to Newspaper class. I’m a storyteller, it’s what I was born to do. I am in love with journalism.

And no matter how much I might mutter “I hate journalism” under my breath as sources don’t call me back or when I have to somehow cut 300 words from my story, seeing my name bolded in that byline every Wednesday is worth it.