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5 Things Only J-School Students Understand

Congratulations! After spending your freshman year (and maybe beyond) unsure what major you wanted to declare, you discovered the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (or, the J-School, as we J-Schoolers like to call it), and your statement of intent was accepted. You’re in!

For many, the J-School, located in Murphy Hall on East Bank, is a home away from home. When you first walk into the building, you’ll be bombarded by three high-definition television screens displaying the news from various channels. You’re a journalism student now, after all, so you better stay up-to-date on current events.


J-School students are their own unique breed, and we love that about ourselves. Here are five things you’ll only understand if you’re a J-School student, too:

Having to Explain Your Long-Winded Degree Program to Others

“I’m a student in the College of Liberal Arts, and within that I’m in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication–or, you know, the J-School. My major is technically journalism, but I’m on the strategic communication track, which encompasses both Advertising and Public Relations. My focus is in advertising, but I’ve taken PR classes, too.” Yep, that’s usually about how it goes.

Spending Three Class Periods A Day in Murphy 130

Murphy Hall only has one lecture hall, and as a result, any journalism class you take with more than 30 students enrolled will likely be held in Murphy 130. Since you’re strongly encouraged to take only three journalism classes a semester, and since many of them are prerequisites to other required courses on your plan, you’ll more than likely feel the agony of sitting in the same seat in that periwinkle lecture hall for 4+ hours every other day at some point. Good luck. Bring snacks.

The Plagiarism Talk

You’re a journalism student now, and that means you must understand the gravity of plagiarism. “The Plagiarism Talk,” as I like to call it, is pounded into our heads on the first day of every journalism class. You must not plagiarize. Plagiarism is bad. Really, really bad. (Okay, we get it).


You’re Forever Annoying Rebecca to Make Changes to Your Plan

You know the drill. As part of the J-School application process, we all had to determine what classes we wanted to take during our 2+ years in the school, but as sophomores, did we have any idea how horrible Media Planning would be? Of course not, so we (often) want to drop or add classes to our original plan. Every change must be approved by Queen Rebecca, so we find ourselves constantly walking into her office hours, begging for a change of schedule and trying to squeeze ourselves into the nonexistent seats left in the most popular classes.


Being Hungry, But Not Being Allowed to Eat in Severeid Library

Severeid Library is located in the basement of Murphy Hall, and I must admit it’s pretty cool having a library dedicated exclusively to J-School students. However, Severeid has one major drawback: no food or drink allowed. If you grabbed a latte from the Starbucks in Lind Hall across the street, expecting to sip it while you studied, you better drink it fast before you enter those library doors.


The University of Minnesota is huge; there’s no denying that. But if you’ve fallen in love with CLA, declared a major in journalism, and spent some time in Murphy Hall, campus will start to feel a lot smaller and a lot more like a second home. Enjoy the ride, J-Schoolers!

Erika is a proud Golden Gopher, passionate about writing, designing, and working with others. She is graduating from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in December 2016 with double majors in Strategic Communication and German, Scandinavian, & Dutch. In her free time, Erika likes to read, practice yoga, and try her hand at cooking, in addition to binge-watching episodes of Friends.
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