A long-winded retrospective on a long-winded college experience

Attire ready for graduation day. (Elliot Torres/Borderzine.com)

Attire ready for graduation day. (Elliot Torres/Borderzine.com)

EL PASO – I can’t help thinking about Doogie Howser, M.D. For those of you who never saw it, Doogie Howser was a show starring Neil Patrick Harris (before he became NPH of Harold & Kumar fame) about a teenage genius that became a talented surgeon. Every episode ended with him typing on a computer about what life lessons he’d learned during that week’s episode.

So, here I sit, looking at a blinking cursor trying to find a way to wrap up my college career as a whole. I began way back in 2001 at El Paso Community College where I finished my basic courses and moved on to the University of Texas at El Paso in 2009. Like many other students, I have worked my way through college, there were years I did not attend school and I switched majors, twice.

Attire ready for graduation day. (Elliot Torres/Borderzine.com)

Attire ready for graduation day. (Elliot Torres/Borderzine.com)

Now after much stress, hair pulling, and forced group work, the end is fast approaching. If things go according to plan, which they rarely do, I will graduate in December, and this will be one of the last things I write as a student here at UTEP; my dénouement so to speak.

Despite all of the writing that I have done, from term papers to word problems, finding a way to put a nice little bow on my time in school is oddly elusive. So how to wrap things up, what have I learned, what do I wish I had done differently? To answer those questions would take a lot longer than this blog post is going to be. What I can offer is something everyone asks for but rarely uses, advice.

I cannot express how important an internship is to a college student, regardless of the field of study. Over the course of the summer I had the privilege to intern locally at KVIA. It was an eye-opening experience. It forced me out of my comfort zone, and gave me a glimpse of how the business actually works.

It also did something equally important— it humbled me. When you turn in something to an editor and have it rewritten ten times better in half the time you took to write it, your writing skills don’t seem quite so prodigious. Having experiences like that are an integral part of the learning process that you won’t necessarily experience in a classroom.

Going to school in a lot of ways is like reading a book about baseball. It will teach you the rules and the basics of how to play the game, but that doesn’t mean you can actually play the game.  An internship is like going out to the field and actually practicing. Not to mention it will make you more attractive to potential employers, and in this job market, any advantage is a welcomed one.

There are many things I’ll remember about my time interning, from tagging along with reporters to cover primary elections to trying (unsuccessfully) to convince a man to talk on camera about his son who was accused of murder. It also taught me more about journalism in three months than in my entire college career.

One important lesson I learned was about storytelling. Just because you are telling people the news doesn’t mean that it must be boring. Hopefully this blog has succeeded in that regard.

There, sermon over. I’ll get off of my soapbox and try to find some way to end this blog. I want to say something profound, something deep and meaningful to say as we part ways. However, profound is something that I’ve never had much luck with. So I’ll do what most people do when they want to sound more intelligent and profound than they actually are – I’ll quote someone who is actually intelligent and said something profound.

“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”

–Mark Twain


Editor’s note: At Borderzine we are glad to confirm that everything went according to plan and Elliot is now a graduate from UTEP.

December 15, 2012. (Courtesy of Elliot Torres)

December 15, 2012. (Courtesy of Elliot Torres)

One thought on “A long-winded retrospective on a long-winded college experience

  1. E.T.! Proud of you dawg! You know, the city of Sonora could use some fine 😉 reporters up here….and with me being the mayor of Sonora, you know you have an easy in, double wink. Teeheeeehheeeeeeheeeeeee

    “But I’m livin life in the fast lane, doin the damn thang
    In the Ferrari hard top watchin hard rain
    It’s a damn shame, no more games” – I know you know that’s Ja-Rule…teeheehee, I have that tattooed on my lower back. Anyways, I need to go back to watching Mac and Me. See you in Sonora soon ET!

    -CB, Mayor of Sonora.

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