VOTE YES: Targum teaches lessons of responsibility, service
I finished my tenure as The Daily Targum's editor-in-chief nearly 20 years ago after making it a daily part of my life, from the first week of my first year "on the Banks." A lot of time and experiences later, my tenure in the newsroom at The Daily Targum still impacts my life and my career. Putting out a daily newspaper while being a full-time student was a tremendous effort, and, looking back on it, a minor miracle every day. The responsibility was enormous and required a never-fail approach from more than 20 undergrads at each printing.
Today I am an executive at a software service company in the educational technology sector. I began with my current company, 2U Inc., in 2010 when it was a start up. That required innovation, building processes and systems from scratch and producing outcomes for our partner university students no matter what. I didn't know it in the 1990s, but my time as an editor at The Daily Targum uniquely prepared me for the start-up world where there are often more questions than answers. In fact, many jobs in the fast-paced technology sector require that same ability to question, innovate on the fly and resist failure every day.
I am fortunate to remain in the world of colleges and universities in my current role, and there are so many connections to my position as a leader in my organization and my position as a leader at The Daily Targum. The Daily Targum's mission — to serve the Rutgers community — is simple and elegant. It is also an anchor in a sea of challenges and possibilities. Making decisions based on that simple goal every day allowed me to focus on making the best choices I could in the hundreds of moments that required it. Today, I still derive a lot of confidence from thinking about goals in my job from that same high-level view of service to stakeholders. It makes tough decisions that much easier. Independence from the University is crucial for objective reporting, but also for creating confident, capable graduates.
My experience at Targum made me believe in the power of youth to do and drive great things and to produce something incredibly meaningful for students, faculty, administrators and staff at the University. People who worked alongside me in the stuffed offices on College Avenue were diverse in background and in thinking. Many were first-generation college students who not only received a degree from an excellent public university, but also the building blocks of their careers as we wrote stories, took photographs, entered the digital age for the first time and took the newspaper online. We believed we could, so we did. I still believe in the power of youth and higher education combined with real-life experience to create value in people's lives. In fact, the department I lead, securing in-program field placements for graduate students in nursing, teaching, social work and counseling, allows me to do just that every day. The ethos I developed at Targum made me seek this meaningful work.
Since leaving The Daily Targum almost two decades ago, I have had many roles and jobs, but none that better prepared me for leadership, responsibility and service. A "yes" vote in the current referendum secures this ability for many others as they pursue the joint accomplishments of undergraduate degrees and hands-on experience that will dedicate them to a lifetime of service.
Jessica Wang is a former editor-in-chief of The Daily Targum.
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