When people ask me what I’m going to do with my English major, sometimes I don’t know what to say. And before you think it: No, it is not because there aren’t any options for me. It’s because there are too many.

By working as a part of Ball State’s Unified Media, I’m exploring several professional options that not only enhance my resume, but also benefit me by helping me decide what career path to pursue. Unified Media encompasses numerous organizations: The Daily News, Ball Bearings, Ball State Weekly, WCRD, and NewsLink. That means there are a lot of chances to learn outside the classroom.

When I first stepped into The Daily News newsroom, I did not fully understand how such a large newspaper functioned. To join, I signed up at SuperParty, an event held each semester to introduce students to student organizations and media, and then attended meetings after that. But joining is as easy as getting in contact with someone already on staff or walking into the Unified Media Lab and asking around. The editor of a specific publication or section will provide meeting times, information, and mentoring. I started off by working as a staff designer and staff copy editor, which allowed me to interact with multiple sections of the newsroom. This led me to become a Senior Copy Editor, then Copy Chief, and now Design Editor. As Design Editor, I work in both the Daily News and the Unified Media Design Lab. With this role, I work to conceptualize the content brought in from the different sections of the newspaper, and I lead a staff of designers to put that content on the printed page. By working as a part of this diverse program, I have been exposed to people working in numerous disciplines, and this has provided me with a greater understanding of media as a whole.

My time in Unified Media has propelled me to numerous opportunities. Sometimes I have to take a step back to stop myself from doing too much. But that’s the beauty of Unified Media: you can contribute as little or as much as you are able, and the more you do, the more options you give yourself. Unified Media allows volunteer opportunities in the different sections and publications. After working for a while, applications and interviews can lead to paid editorial positions.

Collaborating with other students is a fantastic way to gain experience, because we’re all learning from the work we do and from each other. My skills in communication, writing, editing, and designing, among others, have developed vastly. Despite not being a graphic design or journalism graphics major, I have accumulated enough pieces to create a design portfolio. My design experience developed my skills in InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator as I designed for publications such as The Daily News, Ball Bearings, and Ball State Weekly. When the government shutdown in October, I had the chance to design a conceptual front page to anchor our coverage. After the Boston Marathon bombings, I spent the night in the newsroom making sense of the chaos and helping put together The Daily News’ coverage. I’ve designed more pages than I can count, written several articles and columns, and edited even more articles. Having that extra proof of diversity in my skills makes me well-rounded and provides me with chances to work in an even greater variety of career areas.

If you have some extra time on your hands and you’re looking for a way to improve your skills and bolster your resume, Unified Media would be a great place to start.

To join Unified Media, contact any of the following people (you can email me at djbrount@bsu.edu) or stop by the Unified Media Lab in Arts & Journalism Building Room 278.

Unified Media Web Managing Editor Lauren Chapman, at lechapman@bsu.edu

Daily News Managing Editor: Emma Kate Fittes, at ekfittes93@gmail.com