Take a lollipop, you never know where it might lead you

Jeff Licciardello

Hey you with the headphones on ignoring everything I’m saying to you, listen for just a second.

Like you, I also avoided the mass of tables and their overly-enthusiastic members like the plague at the Organization Fair. Yeah, that crazy thing where you put in your ear buds, speed up your walking pace and avoid eye contact with the nice girl trying to hand you a lollipop.

Last fall, I accidentally made eye contact with that overly-enthusiastic girl shoving a dum-dum in my face.

“Join Student Media!” she said. “You will get so much experience!” she said.

I came to college with dreams of graduating and working for a magazine in New York City, so I thought, “Eh, what the hell. I’ll hear her out.”

I’m not one to believe in destiny, but I can’t explain how the one organization I would have been interested in would have approached me in such a sudden way.

In retrospect, that moment made a huge impact on life in so many different ways.

I started in Student Media as an A&E; candidate writing for The George-Anne. After a semester of reporting, I moved over to the Magazines Division (yes, we have magazines) as the Reflector Magazine Deputy Editor. After a semester of hectic deadlines, a decent amount of tears and approximately 200 Starbucks iced coffees, I was able to assist in creating a publication that I was truly proud of.

Now, I’m one of those overly-enthusiastic organization members shoving Dum-Dums in other people’s faces.

I went from sitting in my Eagle Village dorm looking up transfer requirements for UGA to trading a lot of my free time for an organization I actually care about. Sure, I fell behind on my Netflix list and my friends still berate me for not finishing “House of Cards,” but I traded my valuable time for something I was truly interested in. The hours I spent in our newsroom didn’t feel like I was at work — I felt like I was home.

Now here is my “metaphorical Dum-Dum” for you to take on your journey. As a freshman, I had no plans on staying on this campus for longer than a year. I wanted to get the hell out of Statesboro as soon as I could. Over the past year though, I learned something. I learned that you need to give Georgia Southern a chance. Sure, we hear all the stories back home about how “STDs float in the air” but there is so much more to this school than meets the eye.

If there is one thing I don’t regret, it’s staying at GSU. Through my organization, I gained amazing friends, professional connections and a place where I can let my creative juices flow.

So I invite you to take a step out of your comfort zone and get involved with something you enjoy. Whether it’s Greek Life, Habitat for Humanity, Latin Dance club, or whatever, there are so many options available to you. You may find some awesome connections for the real world, or you might just find a cool person to go to Happy Hour with. Either way, what have you got to lose?

I hope you’ve enjoyed your Dum-Dum.

Licciardello is a sophomore pre-multimedia journalism major from Kennesaw, GA. He enjoys odd music and drinking endless amounts of iced coffee. He is the current Magazines Editor-in-Chief.