Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Being accepted to UW is only half the battle

“At the University of Wisconsin you can study anything from art to zoology ? it’s the perfect place for people who like choices,” declares UW’s homepage.

But can you really study what you want to? Maybe, if you dedicate your entire college career to studying at Helen C.

Maybe, if you are one of those students who can go to the bars every night and study for midterms the morning of and still pull off an ‘A.’ I could do that in high school, but here?

I guess some people just aren’t as fortunate. The choice Madison is giving me this semester is to either shape up or ship out–to another university–if I want to major in what I want.

The funny thing is, I never knew getting into UW was only half the battle of graduating with the degree I desired. As naíve as I was, I simply thought once you got into college, you could pretty much major in whatever you wanted. Yeah, I was wrong.

I always loved writing, literature and design, so I figured a Bachelor of Arts in the School of Journalism to study advertising, public relations and broadcasting would be the best step for me.

Originally, I was a pre-business marketing major, but found out the hard way that math and econ were definitely not subjects used by the right side of my brain. And to be taught any class at this university by a TA who cannot even speak English is completely ridiculous.

I took so many business school prerequisites, unfortunately not doing as well as I wish I could have done, and ended up not needing several of the courses. They only lowered my GPA.

So, Journalism 201 it was, and an ‘A’ I received.

But did that ‘A’ matter when I applied to J-School? No, or at least it doesn’t seem so. With a 3.02 GPA, I am not smart enough, and I have been rejected. In later conversing over e-mail with an advisor from the J-School after my appeal, I was told it was because of my GPA.

Forget the fact that I worked a minimum of 10 to 12 hours per week my entire freshman year of college as a public relations specialist at ARCH. Overlook the time I spent (and still spend) at The Badger Herald doing newspaper layout, writing and copy editing. Don’t consider the small detail that I had an amazing full-time public relations internship at the Wisconsin State Fair last summer.

I had a 3.0. Is a 3.0 that bad?

Tell me every single one of the 100 students out of 200 who were accepted into the School of Journalism received an ‘A’ in J201 and have been carrying a job while maintaining a 4.0 GPA their entire college career. Some of our parents don’t pay for our tuition, books and rent, or give us “spending money” to spend endlessly on clothes and beer.

I feel like I am penalized for helping my parents pay for my education. If I added up every hour I have worked in the last two years at Madison, it would probably be well over 300 hours. That is 300 hours I could have spent raising my GPA.

But whatever, that isn’t what is even important to me. What will really matter in the future–my ‘C’ in Psych 202 or hands-on experience and the ability to multi-task? There are so many intelligent students at Madison, overflowing with ideas and ambition, who aren’t even going to get the chance to be a part of one of the Top 10 Business Schools in the nation simply because they were involved in band, crew, the school play or had a job.

I don’t mean to whine or bitch about my situation or students with high GPAs–I admire them for their motivation to study, their intellect and their dedication to school. Three exceptional students that have near-4.0 GPAs, great enthusiasm for their major and are in the school of their major are my roommates.

I’m perhaps more envious of them than any student out here. It’s just really upsetting that I may not be able to take reporting, editing and multimedia graphics classes simply because I’m not in the School of Journalism. I can’t find those courses in a Communication Arts or Consumer Science major.

Do I transfer if I don’t get in this upcoming semester? Or should I not go out on weekends and study instead? I love Madison too much to leave, and I love Madison too much to not go out.

Maybe I have ADD or something, but I can’t get myself to study an entire night every weekday. I lose my focus and am often plagued with the thought that I’m in college for only two more years.

Right now is the only time to take advantage of being young and having fun. College isn’t only studying, is it?

I think it’s only part of it. It’s an experience I feel truly matters and will really have the potential to make a difference. Who cares if a “free lunch” isn’t really “free,” and who cares what the soil looks like in Ashland compared to Milwaukee. Just explain to me how to write a better press release, show me a good advertisement compared to a bad one and teach me what I will use in my future career.

I guess I’d rather have a 3.0 and list of experience than a 4.0 and a blank page, anyway. If the J-School doesn’t accept me, that’s fine. I understand they are looking for students with better academic standing. But this one student they are letting go could be one of the most successful in the future, beyond the university and the major written on her diploma.

Nina Balistreri ([email protected]) is a junior aspiring to major in strategic communication.

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