By Jose Negron
For the past four months, I have had a ton of time to reflect.
I’ve thought a lot about the things I’ve experienced in the last four years and how they will affect me in the future.
In May, I graduated from California University of Pennsylvania. I spent all four years of my college career as an English major with a concentration in Journalism.
I worked for my school paper for four years and served as an editor for three of those years. I took countless amounts of journalism classes and spent a handful of nights learning AP Style and proper interview skills.
I was very well involved throughout my college career, but it wasn’t just the writing that allowed me to enjoy the entire college experience. I did something that not all journalism students did. I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned a bit about the entertainment industry.
Before I even arrived at Cal U, a buddy of mine named Dan Carmichael, one of my best friends since ninth grade, told me about his experiences at Cal. Dan, who is a year older than me, told me about how great the school was and how one club made his freshman year so enjoyable. That club was in fact Cal U’s Student Activities Board.
As soon as I arrived on Cal U’s campus in 2012, I knew immediately that this Activities Board was one of the groups on campus I wanted to get involved with. I spent my entire freshman year meeting new people, helping run events and getting the full college experience. Through that, I also got involved with another club that worked very closely with SAB called “The Underground Café.”
The Underground Café is a weekly open mic event that occurs every Thursday night from 9 p.m. to midnight on Cal U’s campus.
What really stood out to me about the club was the uniqueness of it, how much people enjoyed the atmosphere it provided and how welcoming members of the executive board were to me.
Throughout the next three years, I continuously worked with SAB, but I got even more involved with the UG Café.
During my junior year in 2014-2015, I became the treasurer of the club and learned a ton about the behind the scenes work that goes into making Underground and SAB run so effectively.
Along with the rest of our talented E Board, I got to work with different performers that we would have on campus and even got to interview them for my editor position at the school newspaper. It was a whole new experience that I loved so incredibly much.
Fast forward to the end of my junior year and I had the opportunity to become the President of the Underground Café. I was also appointed the Editor in Chief of our school paper, two big responsibilities. I was hesitant to do both, mainly because I knew of everything that I had on my plate at one time. I didn’t want to have an overwhelming senior year. However, I received advice from a handful of friends, including former student advisor and current Neon Entertainment Marketing/Agent position Lindsey Leonard, and felt confident to take on both roles.
Both of these positions along with the work I was still able to do with our SAB allowed me to do something I never thought I could do.
I’m sure it also raised some eyebrows.
I mean, think about it. What is a journalist doing by getting involved with clubs that simply put on events on campus? There were times where I thought to myself, “Why are you getting so attached to a club that has nothing to do with what you want to do in life?”
But that was the thing. I was attached. There was something about putting on events and seeing the joy that we brought to students. It wasn’t always joy on students faces, but regardless, we knew that we did good things for our university.
My affiliation with the Underground Café and Student Activities Board brought me countless amount of things. Endless memories with people who are still my best friends in this world, my girlfriend who I met through SAB, experience working with talented, underrated entertainers, and the confidence that I could do something that I never thought was possible.
There are two main audiences for this long spiel: young college students trying to get involved on campus and the talented artists of Neon Entertainment and around the world.
To those young college students, be involved on your college campus. Whether it is with your activities board or with others at your university, getting involved makes the college experience that much greater. It really is what you make of it, so make your four years at your institution of higher education great. And even if you don’t think you have what it takes to work with student activities, trust me, you do. You will learn and benefit in ways you never thought were possible.
To the talented artists at Neon and around the world, you have no idea the amount of respect I earned for each and every one of you in four years at Cal U. The risks you take by traveling 24/7 to chase your dreams is inspiring. Seeing how you all keep working hard day in and day out allowed me to leave school and feel as if I can do whatever I want to as long as I have a strong belief in myself and the goals I want to accomplish. Keep working hard and keep entertaining and inspiring college students everywhere.
This blog post got pretty long. Things escalated quickly, so I’ll wrap it up.
The last four years have defined me.
The friendships I’ve made, the groups I joined, the things I have done have made me the man I am today.
A big thank you must go out to the Cal Times for helping to mold me into the journalist I am.
Another HUGE thank you must go out to Cal U’s Student Activities Board and the Underground Café.
What for you might ask? Well, for truly showing me what it takes to work for something and enjoy doing it, for allowing me to be a part of something bigger than myself.
As the old saying goes, “Do what you love and love what you do.”
I truly loved every experience and am truly inspired and ready for the future.