As a bright-eyed freshman, I wanted to experience all that Arcadia had to offer. So when Lisa Holderman, chair of the Media and Communication department, recommended I take a practicum related to my interest in journalism, I jumped at the chance.
Practicums at Arcadia aren’t just regular classes: they’re two-credit courses where a student practically applies their skills and knowledge rather than listening to a lecture and taking notes. Since I was a freshman, I’ve been taking Publication Practicum, a course run by Michael Dwyer where we operate an online lifestyle magazine called Loco Mag. Even if you’re not interested in writing, there’s certainly something you can gain out of the magazine. Michael owns it and the students help run it, writing, editing, and directing all aspects of the magazine, including social media and web design.
Once a week we gather to pitch themes for the newest issue, suggest article ideas, plan events, and more. Whenever we ask what we’re able to do, Michael, without fail, responds, “it’s your magazine.” We have control and creative liberty, which is what makes Loco Mag so special.
I also recommend Loco Mag for its flexibility and camaraderie. Even through Zoom, every Monday, we’ve been able to get together and act as if nothing has changed. Several members of the practicum have participated for a year or longer (including myself), strengthening the bond between our group. It may be a class, but it sure doesn’t feel like one; once we’re done our tasks for the day, we usually talk amongst ourselves, swapping stories and jokes and worries about classes. It truly feels like we’re coworkers at a magazine together, and other than being students earning credits instead of money, we really are. Before we know it, the class is over, and I always find myself feeling lighter and optimistic having had that time to work and chat.
Loco Mag has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to receive if not for them. Writing for Loco has become a sort of catharsis, and I’ve been able to write articles ranging from serious topics such as racial discrimination, sexual assault, and disabled rights, to silly, lighthearted pieces and movie reviews. The world is my oyster. I’ve also gained invaluable experience I can add to my resume that employers in all industries (including the media industry) are looking for. Not only can I say that I’m an editor for a magazine, but that I help run its social media and communicate regularly with staff members.
Even if you’re not interested in the field of media and communication, I highly suggest giving Loco Mag a shot. If anything, we’re a tight-knit group of peers and without them, I wouldn’t have the confidence and experience I have today.