Goodbye, department

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by Kit Murray

murrayki@mnstate.edu

It’s common for seniors to be bombarded by friends, family and colleagues with graduation around the corner. During conversation, we often face the dreaded question, “What are your plans after college?”

Not all of us have concrete plans. Maybe for once we just want to relax and not have to feel our professors breathing down our necks. I would like to think after paying $30,000 for an education, all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it. But, to my discontent, I was told that photojournalism, my current emphasis, would soon be cut.

It’s unfortunate that I’ve had to watch my department slowly fall apart during my four years at MSUM. I’m aware that I don’t necessarily have the details why this is happening. I’m not part of a committee and I feel that my voice wouldn’t be heard if I were to to try to convince them to keep photojournalism. However, now that my four years are soon coming to a bittersweet close, let’s jump into the sinking pit of anxiety that is life after college with a disappearing major. Has my time here been a waste?

I couldn’t begin to count how many times someone has told me to change my major because journalism isn’t nearly as lucrative as, say, being a lawyer. When people tell me this, it’s hard to remain calm. It infuriates me that we must solely focus on jobs that make the most money in order to be considered successful. That’s not what success is. Success is finding your passion and pursuing it. Journalism is what I love. It is an industry that is ever-changing and I’m proud to consider myself a part of it. Writing is an outlet for so many people and many of us are able to express through photos and text what we can’t always say otherwise.

If someone were to ask me why I’m a photojournalism major, I’d gladly give them a list of reasons. I find it so liberating to express a point to someone without necessarily having a personal interaction with each reader. The ability to have a voice for others is empowering and something that I would consider a privilege.  Writing encourages creativity, critical thinking, an open mind and can even help us find ourselves.

After college, I hope to pursue my dream of being a writer and photographer. So, the answer is yes. I do have plans after college. I will be a photojournalism intern in Dublin for an outdoor sports magazine, Outsider. More importantly, after college, I’ll be free. Free from hearing professors bicker about how upset they are that my program is falling apart. Free from the stress of exams, projects and papers that don’t necessarily reflect my intelligence or who I am as a person.

So, go ahead. Cut my program. Tell me why it’s important to cut something that I consider to be a huge part of who I am. This decision has me searching for answers. It is upsetting and beyond appalling. Luckily for me, I’m out of here. 

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