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University of Oregon's graduation pint glass

Today I received a pint glass (filled with root-beer and ice-cream–although a nice stout might have been more appreciated) from the University of Oregon. “Cheers to our newest grad!” it says. Newest grad… I know last week I talked about commencement speeches, but honestly, right now, graduation and life after are the top things on my mind.

I’m graduating. I’m leaving school to go start a real life; well an “adult” life. And jobs, I’m leaving university with a line-up of a job for next year (teaching English in Spain), a job for the summer and a dream. This dream will be launched in 18 days, and who knows what will become of it. The dream takes form in an online magazine for alcoholic cider–hard cider. The interesting thing about this online magazine is that the idea for it didn’t come about until late February. I had never even thought about the idea of making a magazine myself until just a few months ago.

The idea for HardCider International came about because in one of my journalism classes I kept writing feature articles about cider and the industry and one day my father suggested, well why don’t you make a magazine about this up-in-coming industry (that has very little coverage in the media) since I’m obviously very interested in it. Um… me? Can I actually make a magazine? What goes into creating a magazine?

Well, I knew from the get-go that a print magazine was out of the question. Production costs for even small circulation magazines is way more than I could ever dream to afford right now coming out of school. But online… a lot can be done online without a bunch of money. I have a small background in coding, I realized that I could learn what I didn’t know and fudge around to create my own website: reduced costs. And starting this while still at the University of Oregon, I have a lot of connections with aspiring journalists who wanted their name out there and are willing to help me out without charging much. So with the help of friends, family and all of what I’ve been learning at the university and through magazines and programs I’ve been involved in, I’m actually doing it.

I know a lot of people who say that what they learned in school never really helped them with the jobs they have. But personally, at least right now, I’m using what I learned to make my own job and my own presence in the journalism world. And a reality of my generation dealing with the bad economy: want a job? create it yourself. In a away journalism today is almost like my parents’ generation with tech companies. Because journalism is going through so much change, it is a perfect time for new-comers to make their stances.

So, here I am graduating. Life is getting exciting. I’m a little nervous, but I think I’m ready. UO says “cheers to our newest grad!” and I say, “cheers to graduating.”