How to Stay Informed as a College Student
By: Christina Corbisiero
College is a bubble, especially if you live on campus. My freshman year I didn’t realize that I had lost touch with the news of the outside world until my second semester when my ‘Introduction to Global Studies’ teacher asked all of us to say one thing that we heard in the news this week, and I couldn’t think of anything that wasn’t about a celebrity. After that, I started taking note of the people around me and how we weren’t really talking about politics or things in the news; but things in our daily lives such as classes, sports, and extracurriculars. It’s not bad to talk about things that are happening in your life, but I realized I hadn’t kept up with the news at all, and it seemed no one around me was either. Keeping up to date with the news is important because many professors will require you to know something about current events, especially in courses in business schools, global studies, political science, economics, and science. Although you don’t need to watch the news all the time, having some sense of what is going on outside of college is important for your discussions in courses, and helps when it comes to writing papers.
1. Subscribe to TheSkimm
TheSkimm is an email subscription that sends a briefing of what’s going on in the world from politics to current events (natural disasters, celebrity scandal, etc…). Five days a week you’ll get an email with a pop culture reference in the subject line. Every email also includes a quote before diving into the news. All the briefings include embedded links to articles and videos from The New York Times, CNBC, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, and other big and local news outlets for further reading. This subscription is helpful because it’s a quick read, and you have the opportunity to read further. I tend to read TheSkimm in the morning when I’m working at my shift in the library or before class. The odds are your professors are up to date on the news, and will reference it one way or another; it’s beneficial to know at least one current event.
2. Go to the Newspaper Section of Your Library & Use Your Student Login
I might be biased because my job at my college’s library is to go through the newspapers every day and make sure the latest one is on display, but please use the resources! I’m positive it’s the same with other colleges, but the one I go to (located in Rhode Island) has Barron’s, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, along with about ten others in multiple languages, and religious ones as well. As long as you’re in the library, you’re able to use the newspapers, and magazines (college libraries have magazines from Time Magazine to People to Sports Illustrated). In many cases, the libraries also have access to many more resources that aren’t even in print. Many students have options to have their college student login to allow them to access more news resources without an extra fee. If you’re doing school work in the library, check out what newspapers and magazines they have to catch up on the latest current events. The librarians and staff are there to help you, and there are so many resources that are included in the tuition to take advantage of. I personally find myself going through the latest issue of The New Yorker while doing homework at a desk in the library.
3. If a Professor Recommends a News Source, Make Sure You’re Checking it Out
Over the Summer I took a Managerial Finance course, and for three weeks of our homework, we had to find articles from the Wall Street Journal that were about corporate finance. I found this homework beneficial because I would learn about other topics in business while on the search for an article that fit my course. Also, I didn’t realize how much content The Wall Street article puts onto their website until I had to read through it, but now I check it at least once a week. In my Promotional Strategy last course, I had to connect my textbook readings to news segments from ‘Nightly News with Lester Holt’. Prior to those homework assignments, I only watch the news when I am at home (since we don’t have cable in our dorm), but I found myself watching hour-long episodes for free online. The assignments from my Marketing course followed me to my other courses when we had to connect our readings to current events. In my two years of college, I’ve realized that what you learn in the classroom doesn’t just stay there, so you have to constantly be connecting what you’re learning to the real world. Professors want their students to be updated on current events, so that can more efficiently connect what they’re learning in their courses to life post-grad.
There are a lot of resources out there, but in my opinion never solely use social media to get your facts unless there are added sources. I personally like the Instagram account @soyouwanttotalkabout which gives a range of topics from feminism to racism in America to what’s going on with the United Postal Service, but they do list sources for all their information. I find that many people I know that are in college are only receiving information from social media through repostings on Insta stories or tweets, and it’s important to go to articles. People tend to put their biases into social media posts, and although there are many news outlets that are less reliable or are more geared towards a certain political party (such as Fox News, MSNBC, New York Post, and others on the ‘The Media Bias Chart’), there are many news outlets that will talk about current events with no bias. 2020 is a very crazy year between the pandemic, the United States election, revival of the Black Lives Matter, humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the explosion in Lebanon; it’s necessary to be educated on current events. There is no downside to being up to date on the news because it will help you in your classes, but also you will be able to connect with the world outside of college.