Reclining in my seat on the flight home from the Make Progress National Summit in Washington, D.C., it occurred to me that nobody really told me when “real life” begins. In high school my friends and I would half-joke that real life would start soon after we donned our black satin graduation robes as fresh-faced 18-year-olds. Again, now as a senior at the University of Oregon, I nervously joke with my friends that real life is only one year away, after we robe up and walk together for perhaps the last time. These half-hearted jokes mask my unrelenting paranoia of graduating, of “real life” finally beginning.
At the end of my sophomore year in college, I was stricken with the sickness of “real life” scratching at my ankles. In my fear and confusion, I was pining for relief. I eased that apprehension by finding my calling in the School of Journalism and Communication and, specifically, Ethos Magazine.
Ethos’ community of budding young professionals is proof that students are capable of accomplishing truly amazing feats. From scratch, our staff captures the essence of cultural diversity in stories such as Cuba: A Changing Culture (page 14) and The Mystery of Mount Shasta (page 20), highlighting real and modern tales from enigmatic individuals around the world.
Alive & Free (page 24) explores approaching gang violence as a public health issue, while Britain’s Captive Audience (page 8) tells the story of a man whose focus is on rehabilitating inmates by enriching their lives with targeted radio produced entirely by inmates.
On my flight back to Eugene, after accepting Generation Progress’ award for the country’s Best Overall Publication 2012-2013 on behalf of Ethos Magazine at their national summit, real life slapped me directly in the face. Every student, and each staff member of Ethos, who asks when “real life” will begin, needs to ponder no longer. Life is what we make it, how we craft it, and we must not simply wait for it to begin.
Make life begin. Take risks. Put in the work. Ethos Magazine provides the nuts and bolts experiences that our staff and alumni use to blossom into successful professionals in the world of journalism. As you’ll see by the remarkable stories within this issue, real life begins as soon as we stop chasing the future—and start living in the now.