Dream job for the day

by Nicholas Laughlin

One of my favorite things about Texas State is the location. We are a quick 30-minute drive to Austin, and about 45 minutes to San Antonio (all depending on traffic, of course). With that, there are so many opportunities for me as a broadcast journalism major, just north and south of our campus.Processed with VSCOcam with b3 preset

I am currently enrolled in Careers In Media. For this class, I am required to do a job shadow. This was something I was really excited about because I have always wanted to see a journalist in his or her element. I am a huge fan of KUT, The Texas Tribune, and most Austin media (television and other news outlets). I decided to go out on a limb and e-mail KUT about a chance to job shadow with someone in the newsroom. After a couple of weeks of waiting, I got an e-mail from the “Morning Edition” host, Jennifer Stayton, who was excited for me to come down to the station and follow her for the day.

I was at KUT almost all day. I arrived at 8 a.m. to sit in on the first hour of “Morning Edition,” then attended the 9 a.m. news meeting. After that I got to tour the studio, which is relatively new and very nice; listen in on “Texas Standard,” a program that broadcasts all over the state; and go out into the field with a reporter.

I was nervous, of course, because I wasn’t actually sure what I was getting into. Once I sat in the studio and watched Ms. Stayton anchor the news, I realized it was something I could see myself doing. Everyone I met was extremely nice and wanted me get the most out of my experience. I got to take part in a lot of different aspects of KUT.

I learned a lot of this experience. It was an awesome opportunity to get to be a broadcast journalist for the day. In the six hours I was there, I learned a lot about the field of radio journalism, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do so!

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Taco Monday

by Nicholas Laughlin

One of the many reasons why I chose Texas State is because of how fast it’s growing. Texas State is the fourth biggest university in Texas, and San Marcos right along with it, growing as both Austin and Texas State grow. One of the newest additions to this growing campus town is the one and only, TORCHY’S TACOS.

Torchy’s started is a food truck in Austin and now has restaurants all over the state. I have been waiting for the day that Torchy’s came to San Marcos. If you are fond of Torchy’s then most likely you know where my excitement is coming from. If you have never been, you have to go! Torchy’s queso is pure cheesy, spicy gold and is a definite must-get. Their guacamole and array of salsas will not disappoint either.

In honor of their February 16th opening, Torchy’s gave away free tacos, chips, queso, salsa and guacamole from 6-10 PM. My friends and I got in line at 4:30 and were among the first people there. Within an hour, the line was wrapped all the way around the block with no end in sight. There was no limit to how many tacos we could order. So I could have honestly ordered 10 tacos and life would have been okay. I ended up ordering the fried avocado taco and the chicken fajita taco. I highly recommend both! The chicken fajita might sound basic, but honestly it is the best fajita meat I have ever had.

A free dinner from one of my favorite restaurants is always a great way to start the week. Food always tastes better when it’s free.

Now that my love of Torchy’s has been expressed, I want to also suggest the faculty art exhibit in Gallery 1 and 2 in the Joann Cole Mitte Building. I stumbled on this exhibit for my intro to art class, and I was honestly very impressed. I didn’t know that we had these galleries that housed such amazing art. It is really something that you have to experience yourself.

End of semester madness

by Nicholas Laughlin

It is finally that time of year! The weather has become a steady(ish) cold, and San Marcos is lit with lights and feels like the holidays. These past two weeks have been intense with classes ending, studying for finals and all of the end-of-the year hoopla. But instead of writing about finals and my struggle to study, I want to tell you about my apartment-searching adventures that have taken place the last couple of days.

To all of you incoming freshman, dorm life really isn’t all that bad. You get a meal plan, and you meet your best friends. Come winter break, though, you start thinking about your sophomore year, and you are ready to have your own bedroom, bathroom and be able to cook your own food. The last couple of days, my friend Emma and I drove around San Marcos looking for own new home away from home for next year. We made a list of places we wanted to check out, but while touring the city we found SO MANY we didn’t even know about. There is no shortage of places to live in San Marcos! Emma and I have narrowed down our list to four places, and now we need to show them to our other friends we are going to live with. It was nice to break away from studying to search for a new home.

It has been one heck of a semester. There is no way I have been here only three and a half months! Time really does fly when you are having fun. Texas State has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I hope everyone has a great winter break, and don’t forget to keep reading the blog next semester! I am sure that the other bloggers and I will have no shortage of things to write about!

All I do is study

by Nicholas Laughlin

Since starting college, I have really learned the importance of studying. In high school, I could look over my notes and I would be fine for a test, but I have found out that in college it is not that easy. The tests I have taken so far cover the material from lectures, but also make you use critical thinking. It is not all about memorization, at least not in my classes. With finals coming up in a couple of weeks, my professors have already started assigning study guides for us to complete.

Sometimes getting off campus and going to a place like Wake the Dead Coffee House is a great way to re-focus your brain.

Sometimes getting off campus and going to a place like Wake the Dead Coffee House is a great way to re-focus your brain.

Finding a place to study can be the hardest part to studying. For myself, I need a place that is mellow and without too much commotion happening. I love studying in the Alkek Library. My favorite spots are on the quiet floors, in front of the windows that look south onto downtown San Marcos. The Honors Coffee Forum in Lampasas (next to Old Main) is another great spot. They have coffee there, as well as comfortable couches to use. I also like to get off of campus and make myself at home at a coffee shop. My two favorites are Mochas and Javas and Wake The Dead. Both have great coffee and sweets, and a nice, quiet place to study.

Once classes resume from Thanksgiving break, I will be using all of these places to study. It is nerve-wracking to think about taking my first college finals. It is going to be interesting to see how different college finals are compared to high school finals. I can not believe that it has already been a semester. Time really does fly.

Halfway mark

by Nicholas Laughlin

It’s crazy that my first semester of college is halfway over. Fortunately it has been a crazy experience and I wouldn’t trade for anything. One of the crazy things that happened last week was that I registered for my spring classes. I really cannot believe that. In the midst of taking midterms and a final in my Grammar for Journalism class, I had to register for my spring classes. I am really excited for my schedule because I have only one class on Wednesday and no classes on Friday!

At the end of my busy week, I got to spend Friday afternoon with working journalism professionals from the central Texas area. I am a news reporter for The University Star and every year they invite fellow news reporters to look at our work and help us improve. It was one of the best experiences that I have had so far. I loved all of the constructive criticism I received. It definitely re-charged the passion I have for journalism.

To continue my on with journalism, I am nerding out too much for Mass Communication Week this week! There are so many interesting sessions that I can’t wait to attend. I am most excited for Evan Smith’s session. Evan is the editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, which is a terrific digital news organization about Texas public policy and politics. I am sure he will give an interesting session.

The only other thing I am more excited about than Mass Communication Week is getting to go home this weekend. I have not been home since I moved in, so it will be refreshing to go back to Fort Worth for a couple of days. I will get to see my family and more importantly my dog!

I am so ready to tackle the next half of the semester. I have accomplished so much in a very small amount of time. I am excited to see what the rest of the semester holds. There are only five more weeks until Thanksgiving break and eight more weeks until winter break. We can do it!

A great weekend with friends

by Nicholas Laughlin

Because San Marcos is so close to both Austin and San Marcos, you have so many cultural events to choose from.

Because San Marcos is so close to both Austin and San Marcos, you have so many cultural events to choose from.

I had been looking forward to last weekend since August. I finally got to go to my first music festival, Austin City Limits (ACL), in Austin. The whole festival experience was true to what I thought it would be. I went on Friday and Saturday and saw some amazing shows! On Friday, I saw Bleachers, Sam Smith, Foster the People and OutKast. ALL of them were fantastic, especially Sam Smith. If you have not listened to his album, In The Lonely Hour, you absolutely should. His voice alone is the only reason you need to give this artist a chance. Bleachers was also excellent, I highly recommend them as well. Saturday was another great day! I got to see Lana Del Rey, Iggy Azalea and Skrillex. They were all great!

I also got to hang out with a few of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in a while, which is always a plus. Getting to spend three days with your friends, in Austin, listening to your favorite bands makes for a perfect weekend! During my visit, I had some of my favorite foods, like Hey Cupcake!, Torchy’s, Kerby Lane, Amy’s Ice Cream and JuiceLand. There is so much great food yet so little time. Continue reading

Reunited

by Nicholas Laughlin

The past few days have been very great. The weather has been cooler, which is awesome. I am getting really tired of this heat and I love the cold. It was Family Weekend, so my parents and brother headed down to San Marcos to see the Texas State v. Navy game and spend time with me, DUH. My parents wanted to give me tour of all the little cities that are around San Marcos. We spend part of Saturday in Gruene. There are so many little restaurants, shops and things to do there. We ate at the Gristmill, which is AMAZING! If you find yourself in Gruene, I would definitely recommend it. Instead of me showing them all of the things around campus, it was nice they got to show me all of the things that I could do. There are so many little towns, festivals, rivers and trails to explore around here.

The football game didn’t go the way we wanted but it was a fun game. The stadium was packed, which was such a great sight, and everyone was really into the game. After the game, my family wanted to go eat at Palmer’s, where my mom used to work, and it was so good. I haven’t had an actual home-cooked meal in so long but that was pretty close. I am so fortunate that my parents got to come in town and spend the weekend with me. It won’t be too much longer until I see them for Thanksgiving break!

Sunday was legitimately lazy. I did my laundry and cleaned my dorm and just lounged around all day. It was so great. It was still a bit cold outside and gloomy, which made it a great day to not do anything.  One thing I do miss is all of my friends from back home. I still talk to most of them, but it’s different when you go from seeing your closest friends every day to not seeing them at all. Sunday I got to talk for a long time to one of my best friends since the 4th grade. I have seen her only once since I’ve been here, and I really haven’t had a whole conversation with her in a while. We had many things to catch up on!

On a completely different subject, my productivity level is starting to decline sharply. I was hoping I would come to college and be on top of my work and not procrastinate, but that is not the case. There is always something else to do, or sleep to catch up on instead. It seems like of a sudden my classes have started slamming me with work and I just don’t want to do it. It will take some adjusting to, but I still don’t feel like school has started.