By Vanessa Gibson
I see familiar faces in nearly every journalism class I take. I have had amazing experiences interning for the SOJC events team. I even got to raft the McKenzie River.
All of these opportunities stemmed from my choice to join the Media and Social Action Academic Residential Community (ARC).
Getting accepted to the University of Oregon in 2016 made me feel elated, knowing I had a place to go when I graduated high school. Soon after, I started to get a lot of emails and letters showing me all the groups and options that were available to me once I got here. Joining an ARC was a decision that continues to influence my college career.
To apply, I had to fill out a form and write a couple of essays, then sign up for a phone interview to see if I was a good fit. About a month later, I got a call from Rachel Allen, assistant director of student services for the SOJC. At the time, I didn’t know who she was or how important she would become for me. It was the first phone interview I had ever done, and I remember being nervous.
The following week, I got an email offering me a place in the first Media and Social Action ARC. I was excited to join this new cohort of people, and my amazing year with them was full of experiences that have influenced my life. Below are my top five favorites.
- Rafting the McKenzie: During the first week of school, the Media and Social Action ARC went on a rafting trip down the McKenzie River. It was the best experience for me because I got to know everyone in my cohort, and it was fun to float down the river. It was one of the more adventurous things we did, making it my favorite.
- Touring a swanky ad agency: We took a private tour of the top-notch agency Wieden+Kennedy in downtown Portland, and it was one of the coolest buildings I have ever been in. A lot of people in the ARC switched their majors to advertising because of this tour.
- Peeking behind the scenes at a newspaper: We visited the Register-Guard here in Eugene, which was interesting because I did not know the process of making newspapers — or how large the production was.
- Taking a pivotal class: The ARC offered opportunities that other first-year students did not have, such as getting into the class J350: Principles of Public Relations, taught by Dean Mundy. It was, and still is, my favorite class I have taken at the UO, and it helped cement my decision to major in PR.
- Living as a community: Finally, it was really great to live in the same hall as everyone else in the ARC. I developed relationships with everyone in the cohort, and we would often stay up late at night to hang out with each other. We became more than just classmates; a few even became my roommates this year.
The connections I made throughout my year in the Media and Social Action ARC continue to influence my college career. It was an amazing journey filled with amazing people and adventures. I highly suggest checking out this year’s academic residential communities.
Vanessa Gibson is a sophomore at the University of Oregon, majoring in public relations and minoring in planning, public policy and management for non-profit administration. She spends her summers in Portland as a wedding assistant and works during the school year as a student events intern for the School of Journalism and Communications. She enjoys hiking, reading and bingeing Netflix TV shows.