I am a proud product of a school paper

The best part of joining the school paper is having the opportunity to join competitions to see how your publication fares with other schools. It also tells you whether your team has done a good job.

Society has dictated that an engineer with good communication skills is a difficult find.

When I got employed, I became a regular resource person in online journalism of the PIA in their campus journalism seminars.

The skills I developed while I was in the organization gave me quite an edge when I was job-hunting.

Through PIA, I was also able to hold sessions on journalism with various government agencies and local government agencies. In this photo, I am lecturing on mobile photography as a new generation photojournalism with the information officers of the Iloilo Provincial Government.

As an engineer who currently works for the government, I must say that how I developed much of my skills in writing, talking to people, conducting trainings, among others can be much attributed to my days as a campus journalist. Society has dictated that an engineer with good communication skills is a difficult find. I took on that challenge and even ended up with some trade-offs in college, and for me, it was all worth it.

I joined the University of San Agustin Publications during my freshman year. That time, I could barely even write. I just have that certain ability in my mind that told me if the things I wrote had correct grammar or not. However, being a campus journalist (trying to convince myself then), it was beyond just good words and grammar. You have to develop your own style of writing and each type of article has its own structure to make it effective communication materials for the reader. Thankfully, I had awesome seniors who taught me how to develop my own style, how to conduct interviews, and many extras in college like drinking alcohol (it is pretty normal).

It develops your passion

When we joined our first competitions, we weren’t really the best. And somehow, it got me and the rest of the team so obsessed to upgrade our paper. We spent extra time learning computer software in designing the layout of the publications, creating illustrations, and even to some extent, video editing as we continued to adapt to the modern age of journalism. This passion for work (probably) led me to become editor-in-chief during my third year in college. Along the way, I earned opportunities working with editors of other school publications and government agencies especially the Philippine Information Agency during journalism trainings.

However, during that same year, I had to make an unavoidable decision whether or not to choose between academics and being a journo. I tried my very best to manage both until circumstances led me to choosing the latter and leaving my bid to graduate cum laude in my degree. This really hit me hard but eventually I was able to bounce back convincing myself that this loss won’t go to waste. I worked hard together with the rest of my organization to win a lot of titles in journalism competitions in the regional and national levels. It is a matter of compensating but for me that time, it was already fulfilling.

Summing up the college sequel, I still managed to graduate with academic distinction. I remember one professor tell me that I was “sayang” or a pity for losing my cum laude bid but I was confident with my reply that my college life was happy and full of colors.

It develops resilience when things get rough

During my board exam review, however, I had some hints of regrets at first. I felt a bit behind in the preparation. I was confused to the point of already foreseeing myself not becoming an actual engineer. To be honest, I was only ready for the board exam two weeks before it would actually take place despite of the six-month preparation that I had. I studied harder in the few remaining days and tried to really put my mindset to passing the board exams. I simply recalled our journey as a school paper when we put on extra effort to etch our names on the top of the podium as winners. We had that goal and so I wore the same game face to pass the board exams. With a high level of motivation, prayer, and luck, I managed to earn the four letters at first try, Engr.

It is a source of competence in the long run

Joining a school organization especially the paper is really time-consuming. Sometimes, you will reach the point of choosing between your academics and the organization. Putting things straight, academics is important. For me I chose the organization but with the condition that I will still manage to graduate on time and to get that title of engineer. The skills I developed while I was in the organization gave me quite an edge when I was job-hunting. I was able to present myself well during job interviews. I was able to prepare visually appealing and organized resumes for my job applications. I knew how to write application letters. On-the-job, I am already used to pressure. I am innovative in completing projects and beating deadlines. Most importantly, I knew how to take responsibility and accountability of things assigned to me.

Not all organizations in college are created equal and it entirely depends on how you discipline yourself and identify your priorities. For me, joining the USA Publications or any school paper is beneficial in college to prepare you in the real world. You get the competencies that is needed by companies and you develop a mindset of continuous growth when challenges at work are along the way.

Published by Ilonggo Engineer

Ilonggo Engineer or Ray, is a civil engineer and a writer who strongly advocates for road safety, technology literacy, and social equity.

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