By Heather Mendiola
When I became Sci/Tech Editor of the Concordiensis, I felt that I had big shoes to fill, and I was nervous. Admittedly, technology and I don’t get along well. I know how to work Microsoft Word, Excel and the Internet on my computer and I have survived and thrived on that basic knowledge all four years of college.
My predecessor, however, was a tech genius — and I am not just saying that because he is now my boyfriend and solves all my tech problems. The work, knowledge and dedication he put into the Sci/Tech section over his two years was inspiring, and was partially what drove me to run for this section.
I wanted to add to the knowledge he gave his readers, but I also wanted to expand into the sciences and environmentalism because both have such prevalence on and off our campus. I wanted to bring my readers unknown information and explain why they should care about it.
Although I had never written for the Sci/Tech section before, I have a passion for science, environmentalism, health and helping people. I thought that I could combine those passions as Sci/Tech Editor to teach people the amazing discoveries, innovations and research that people both on and off campus are creating, how they can affect our daily lives and, therefore, why they should care about these issues.
While I cannot be certain whether I achieved that goal, I am certain that I have learned so much being Sci/Tech Editor. In my four years of college (three years at Union) the greatest influence on my writing ability was hands-down being the Sci/Tech Editor. Each article I wrote was like writing a mini paper: researching a topic, picking the important facts and explaining them in a cohesive manner without an opinion. In the beginning, I struggled at deciding what to put in and what to leave out, how to organize the information and how to tell people they should care about this topic without saying those words. As always, things got easier with practice.
Being Sci/Tech Editor required me to branch out to different areas of the campus, meet new people and expand the depth and breadth of my knowledge, and for that I am very glad I ran and happy I was chosen. My favorite articles to write were those that required interviewing people. Aside from the fact that it made me feel like a real journalist, I loved seeing the passion people had for their projects. I felt a great honor in being the person to write about their hard work and accomplishments.
I have a lot of pride in Union and its students; I believe that everyone has a tremendous amount of potential and that the education you receive at Union can only increase that potential. However, I also believe students should not rely on the academics alone for their source of knowledge. Union’s students need to allow what they learn to change them.
This means we shouldn’t dismiss any knowledge, opinion or point of view that is different from our own solely on the fact that we don’t agree with it. It is not necessary to agree with everything you learn; however, I believe every point of view, opinion and piece of information should be appreciated in its context. This is probably the anthropology/psychology ID major influence coming out of me.
In my opinion, an excellent way to expand your knowledge is to have intellectual conversations or debates with your friends. Having intellectual debates shows you what you don’t know about a certain topic, while hearing someone else’s point of view on a topic. However, engaging in passionate debates can turn for the worst if personal emotions are mixed into the argument. Studies have shown that taking a walk in nature helps reduce stress levels, so maybe have your debate in Jackson’s Garden — I remember having a few debates there myself, and it helped keep the mood light.
I am very involved in the sustainability movement here on campus — I am the volunteer coordinator for Octopus’ Garden, I live in Ozone House, I am in multiple USustain action groups and I am in Environmental Club. During my time as editor, I tried to find a balance between environmental articles and other topics.
It was a brush of luck that many interesting space events took place during my time as editor. I didn’t know much about space, but I enjoyed expanding my knowledge of space exploration’s potential for new knowledge, travel and helping the human race become more sustainable. I leave the Sci/Tech section to Andy Zou ’17, a very capable and sustainably minded young man. I have complete confidence he will do great things for the Sci/Tech section.
Before I sign off I would like to give one more piece of advice from a 22 year old who recognizes that the more you learn, the less you know. Choose happiness over money and knowledge, because happiness is knowledge and no monumental value can ever afford it; choose love and compassion because they can create peace and harmony in your mind and soul. Namaste.