Dear Class of _____

June 17, 2013

Dear Class of  _____,
On June 18, 2012, the Class of 2012 walked in the graduation ceremony at the University of Oregon with great pomp and circumstance. It was a (typical) cloudy/rainy day in Eugene. We were surrounded by our friends and family. We had our education behind us and the world in front of us. Today, you all joined the us, and the many before us, as alumni of the University of Oregon. Many congratulations are in order.

When I put on my cap and gown that day, I knew that I was not really graduating. I was going to finish school in December. Celebrating the fact that I was almost there seemed weird to me. It was important to me to go through the ceremony and have the experience, the pictures, the memories. However, as I saw the pictures and postings by the Class of 2013 on various social media sites from their graduation one year later, I couldn’t help to feel a bit of regret. I didn’t have time to really celebrate, as I was starting my job the next morning at 6am. I didn’t want to go take a picture in front of a cool University of Oregon sign because I wasn’t going anywhere. You can look back on my post from the week before my graduation ceremony. I didn’t appreciate the day. I didn’t soak it all in. It felt like a charade to me, and I shouldn’t have let it. Don’t get me wrong. I had a big smile on my face and I felt very accomplished. But when you start summer courses exactly one week after you “graduated,” it feels a bit strange. In retrospect, I should have soaked in the day a bit more. I should have thrown the idea that I wasn’t really done out the window and appreciated the day for what it meant.

I am writing you this (open) letter so you can take the time to reflect on everything today. I am writing this letter so that you, the Class of ____, can take the time to stop, look around, and soak in the accomplishment that you have achieved. The ceremony. The day. the caps. The gowns. The sound of your name being called as you walk across the stage and into the next phase of your life. Let it all soak in. Have fun. Celebrate. So what if you have a little extra time to go. It doesn’t matter if you are actually graduating today or in a few months. Today, you are graduating. That’s all that matters!

Congratulations to the Class of ____! This day belongs to you!

Alex Horwitch
University of Oregon
School of Journalism and Communication – Public Relations
Class of 2012


“Study Ties Oregon Successes To Students Slacking” Response

December 20, 2011

There was an article published by the AP today which stated the following:
 In a new paper, the economists at the University of Oregon chart the grade point averages of students there alongside the fortunes of the football team between 1999 and 2007. Their findings could give ammo to critics of big-time college sports.

Their conclusion: When the Ducks were winning, students celebrated more and grades suffered. And that doesn’t bode well for upcoming report cards — the Ducks are 11-2 this season, Pac-12 champions for the third straight year, and headed to the Rose Bowl.

Read the rest of this entry »


Stressed but Content

May 11, 2010

There are times in your life that you sit down at the end of the day, exhale and say, I NEED SOME SLEEP! That has been almost every day of the past week. With the pledge process winding down, On The Rocks’ 10th anniversary show coming up, recording the OTR album, and school all going on at the same time, when I finally get to put my head down on my pillow at night, it is one of the best rewards I can get at the end of a day.

Yet, this isn’t a post about stress. Look at the title! Stressed but CONTENT, content being the key to the phrase. Even with all these things going on right now, I have found an event, moment, thing, whatever that has helped me be able to take a breath at any point in the day and say, “Finally! Something is going the way I had really hoped it would go!” You could browse the history of this blog and find plenty of posts which say, “I hope this happens this way,” and “I hope this happens that way.” Yet when it was least expected, one moment helped change everything for the better….and if I dare say, for the best! Great things can happen, and do happen. Now just to wait for all this stress to end (next week I will be a semi-free man!) so I can spend my free time how I wish. However, even with all the stress, this new found revelation gives me something to stop in the middle of my day, stop for a moment, take a breath, and for the rest of the day feel like relaxed and happy!

UNRELATED: 2 episodes of LOST left. Still trying to figure out what I’ll do when that show is out of my life. Need to find a new drama to watch. Flash Forward? Fringe? Something LOSTish. Suggestions?


Dante Didn’t Even Know The Half Of It!

March 8, 2010

Dear Dante,
Your inferno was missing something. I think somewhere around the 4th, 5th, or 6th level of your hell is a little something called J202 Information Gathering. Haven’t heard of it. Maybe you know it by its moniker, Info Hell. Ringing a bell now? Hell’s Bells? Yes, punny, but I digest….

Dante, my dear friend, I know we haven’t spoken since Senior year, but if you could help me navigate out of this rung of hellish activity as you did when I was stuck in a boring ass classroom (H216 if my memory is correct) with a terrible teacher (not related to Roman) I would greatly appreciate it.

In the meantime, please make sure you properly place J202 in your Divine Comedy and let it sit and rot there. Again, greatly appreciated!

Give my best to Virgil,
Alex


Leadership

February 15, 2010

Your entire life, you always hear leadership talk. You can do this, you can do that. Some is inspirational (“Somewhere in the world right there is someone your age that will one day change the world. Why not you? You can do whatever you want to!” -Rick Horwitch). Some not so much (“Study hard, play hard, but no throwing chairs!” -Steve Wilkos).

Tonight I got the opportunity to listen to 3 amazing speakers at the University of Oregon Presidential Leadership Symposium. Starting with President Richard Lariviere, the speakers all urged the 200 to be the best we could. Then, Ana Maria Merico began her speech. She started by having everyone close their eyes and envision a 21 year old immigrant, not speaking English, pregnant, with $400 total dollars. She came to America from Argentina and sought greatness. People told her she couldn’t do it, she asked why. Her message rings true with the quote from my dad above. You can do whatever you want! Just don’t let anything get in the way!

Finally, Rev. Jesse Jackson took the stage. Starting slow and quiet, as he has thousands of times before, he slowly grew into a heated, fast paced, passionate, loud speech. His message? Champions play through pain. “You must bloody up the uniform some times! Champions play through pain!” He spoke of Dr. King’s famous speech delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Yet he said that while the famous message of having a dream was what was taken away from the speech, that it was not the message delivered. “Dr. King looked to the statue and said ‘Mr. Lincoln, you gave the proclamation, but did not grant emancipation!'” He gave a timeline of change, starting in 1948 and ending on a November night in a Chicago park. How did we, as a country, go from WWII African-American veterans not having the same rights as White veterans, to having an African-American President? Students. We have the power. We are the most powerful demographic. We need to “Democratize Democracy!” Make Democracy a Democracy. We all need to have our voices heard!

“When Rosa Parks sat down on that bus, she broke the law. The driver needed to save his job. The police were called.” There is a difference between moral right and legal obligation. Which do we go by? Which do we choose? The US Government allows the free speech that the Pacifica Forum is participating in on this campus right now, but that does not make it right. Moral right, legal obligation.

He then continued on about students. He asked who in the crowd was on some sort of aid at the University. When a few hands went up he corrected everyone. “Surprise, you all are! This is a government funded facility. You are all being aided by the government. You are all on some sort of aid!” He told a story of a man who had a MediCare card in one pocket, a Social Security in the other, driving down a major US highway. “The man said to me ‘I do not want the government aiding and funding my actions.’ Then how are you going to survive?”

Finally, he turned his speech to the welfare of the students. “You can get a car with 0% interest. You can get a bank [account] with 0% interest. But when you take out a student loan, after you graduate, you’re in debt. You get married into debt, and your first mortgage is payed by an IOU. We must get rid of interest on student loans. We must allow our students to graduate and be free!”

The final thing he said to the crowd was during a Q&A session. He was asked if people should be Color Blind. His response, “Do not deny who you are. We are all black, white, yellow, red, brown. Do not be color blind, be color tolerant. Be aware. Thank you. God bless you. I love you Eugene!” And he walked off the stage.

What did I take from this? Everything. Do what you want. Why? Why not?! Do what is morally right, not necessarily legally mandated. We, the students, can make a difference. “Democratize Democracy!” Don’t let things get in the way. Achieve greatness. “You can do whatever you want to!”


A Quick Reflection

January 6, 2010

As I was at dinner this evening with Sam and Drew (Papa’s Soul Food!), I came to a sudden realization. I could not be happier with my decision to come to the U of O. Eugene is such a unique place; the people, the restaurants, the businesses, everything. The weather sucks at times, but it’s nice to get something different than the same 70+ degree weather I’ve had for the rest of my life. The atmosphere, the trees, the setting, completely different than Calabasas…in a great way! The education I’m getting is quality. The friends I’m making are awesome. My fraternity is great. My a’cappella group is great. My football team is great! My basketball team is getting better, as is the baseball team.

I have now lived 19 years. I now have 19 years of knowledge built up in my mind. I made a decision 2 years ago to come to Oregon. At the time I chose, in part, because it was different than Los Angeles (unlike Arizona, which is very much like LA). I said that I was going to be living in LA post-college, so I might as well live somewhere different for 4 years. My decision to come to Eugene was the perfect decision I could ever make. THAT is my 20th birthday gift to myself. *Pat on back* Well done. Good choice!

With 40 minutes left in my teenaged life, I also can’t believe that my adult life is truly about to start. I have learned a lot in my 19 years, and am ready to learn more. 20 years is a milestone. As I am sitting in Bronstein’s room, he is humming “New Slang” by The Shins. I have always thought that was a good reflection song. It’s fitting that as I sit here, about to become “an adult” that that is the song that should come up. I’m ready to start this next part of my life, and accept all the challenges with ease and an open-mind. Here’s to the next chapter…


The Official Blog of an Unofficial Reporter

December 30, 2009

This afternoon, my very first article was published for the Oregon Daily Emerald Click Me! I’m a link!. Being able to go to Disneyland, sit with the media, interview the players and Coach Kelly, and then write about it for the Emerald has been an amazing, educational, and exciting experience. I don’t know if this is the path I want to take with my Journalism degree (in process), but it was an experience I will never forget and has helped me to continue walk down the road of “what do you want to do after college.” Even if this is not what I choose to do with my life, this will help me in whatever field I do choose.

Everything is a learning experience, and this was no exception. I’m proud of myself and hope you enjoy the article…all 5 of you who read this…

ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NOTE: I have discovered why I really like the music on Space Mountain at Disneyland. Michael Giacchino (he does the music for all the JJ Abrams projects, like LOST, Cloverfield, Star Trek, and MI:III) composed it. Just a fun fact for you.