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Taking science and math classes every single day can be fun, but it can also be very stressful. That’s why GE’s (general education) and elective classes exist so you can take classes outside your major and become a well-rounded individual.


So for my Fall 2020 semester, I had two extra units that I could fit into my schedule, and I wanted to explore a new interest, so I took Jour-210x my freshman year. This class was not a requirement, but it was a chance for me to explore my passion for writing and reporting.


Journalism 210 is the journalism class for non-majors, and I 100% recommend taking it if you want to learn more about journalism. The class is 2.0 units and requires approval from the head of the Media Center. If you are interested in taking the class, you can email the instructor listed on Web Registration when applying for the class.


So here’s a bit of a rundown of how the class works. You essentially get assigned a desk. There are many options you can choose from: radio, investigative, producing, news, etc. From there, the instructor will introduce you to the Annenberg Media center, as well as the coaches and producers on the day you choose. You have to commit 4 hours a week to the Media Center and to the desk of your choosing.


When you arrive to the desk, the producers will either want you to 1) Give a pitch about a topic to report, 2) interview someone for a story, or 3) finish a story from earlier in the day. Once your shift is over, you’ll update the producers about the work you did. The Jour-210x class itself is taken for credit, and you meet with the instructor two to three times a semester, as he or she will check in with you about how you are liking the Media Center.


So now that you understand how the course is only a 2.0 credit elective class and how it doesn’t take too much of your time, here are reasons as to why I joined the class and what I loved about the class.


The producers and coaches

I loved working with the producers and coaches. I worked a shift on the Tuesday radio team and absolutely, hands down, enjoyed getting to talk to the students and coaches working that day. The coaches are basically professionals in the field who give feedback on your pitches and your work. All the coaches I met were very nice, and all the student producers I met were very nice and friendly to work with.


The difference between Annenberg class and other classes

I loved the way this class was laid out, as well as the amount of collaborative work I got to do with other students. In Viterbi, and in STEM classes in general, they are taught way different than journalism classes. Taking Jour-210x was “hands on” in a different way as I’d edit the audio with the coaches and producers, and they’d give me feedback. It would be a back-and-forth conversation, and your shift was structured as need be. Whereas for STEM classes, the teacher lectures and you take notes, but in Annenberg you kind of just “do” and you ask questions along the way.


The flexibility

You get to choose how you want to distribute your four hours. I picked one day for 4 hours, but you could also do 2 hour shifts for two days.


The chance to report and improve upon my communication and writing skills

It is a useful skill for engineers to have good writing and communication skills. Before the class, I was scared to cold email and call professionals, but this class makes you do it and it is a shift from STEM classes. Now, I’m able to effectively communicate in my classes or with my professors if something comes up.


The opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and learn something new

Why not try something new? That’s what these non-STEM classes are. Search through Web Registration and filter out 1.0 or 2.0 unit classes that you could possibly fit into your schedule.


By taking this class, I learned how to communicate, write, and interview better. The class taught me how to be more concise, as well as not being scared to ask questions. It was a “learn as you go” type of class, which is what made it exciting. If I could take the class again I would, as I got to step away from a science or engineering class!

Sydney Fiorentino

MAJOR: Chemical Engineering YEAR: Class of 2024 HOMETOWN: San Francisco, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @sfberries I have been involved in conducting research relating to nanoparticles and microfluidics. I'm a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, AICHE (American Institute of Chemical Engineers), and Gen-Zine. Outside of school I enjoy writing and have gotten into blog writing and radio reporting.