The Times They are a Changin’

For our final blog post our professor asked us to think about the most important thing we learned all semester. Since then I’ve spent a fair amount of time reflecting on all of the things we’ve discussed all semester and wondering where the time went. (I’m a graduating senior so please excuse my sappiness). Because we discussed so many different topics I struggled for a little while to decide what the highlight of my semester. However, once I started to think about things more abstractly I finally realized that my biggest takeaway from this semester is not just one thing from a day’s lecture, but the overwhelming realization that the entire world around us is changing because of the advances we are making in technology. This isn’t only effecting newspapers or the music industry, but every part of our personal lives and business and the economy. And not only are things changing, we also aren’t sure where they’re going.

Things change every day. And this isn’t something that you should try to fight. Change is inevitable and if you aren’t constantly willing to evolve you will fall behind. My professor changed the lesson plans several times to take advantage of the opportunity of discussing recent events, like the Chapel Hill shooting. We discussed this a lot more in detail with the field of journalism, particularly about newspapers. It’s not a secret that print is dwindling in favor of online and digital publications. Most newspapers have moved online but are struggling to figure out a successful business model. This is also true in the music industry. So many people give away news and music online for free that people refuse to pay for a subscription. And a new norm isn’t going to be reached until someone finds something that sticks, which is (unfortunately unpredictable). The future can be intimidating because you don’t know what will happen, it is just trial and error until something (for whatever reason) finally sticks.

When we’d have group discussions about what we think the future of an industry should be, I would get a little overwhelmed because I’m just a college student, not an expert in the field. But then I would realize that not even the experts have been able to figure it out, so it is anyone’s guess. And the chances are pretty good that it is not going to be an industry expert who figures it out, it will be someone young who is capable at looking at things from a different perspective.

This quote also exemplifies another aspect of change that I learned this semester: you can’t be scared of change. Nothing will change and evolve – and most importantly, improve – if we don’t accept change. Nobody knows what reality will be in 10 years from now, we just have to make educated decisions (or guesses, if you will) and hope they pay off.

I appreciate this lesson now more than ever because I am graduating in just a couple of weeks. I’m not afraid to admit that I can be a little reluctant to change in my life, so this time has been very stressful. In one week I will be completely done with school forever and it is exciting, terrifying, and depressing all at the same time. It is very easy to get overwhelmed sometimes when so many of my friends are making plans around their new jobs and I still have no idea what I’m going to do. I hoped that I wouldn’t have to move home after graduation, but just because I am doesn’t mean I won’t ever have an exciting career. If anything it will allow me to be more selective and not feel pressure to accept a job until I am offered something I am excited about.

Overall, I have enjoyed this semester so much and couldn’t have asked for a better last semester. I appreciated this class so much for truly challenging me and teaching me so much. I learned so much more from having thoughtful discussions than I would have ever learned from just listening to a lecture. Thanks for helping me end my college career on such a great note Professor Robinson!

Emma vanBree

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