Viewpoint: Stay up-to-date on news

Amanda Hayes

I play the “I’m too busy” card too often. Especially when it comes to keeping up with current events.

In a debate class last semester, my professor brought up the situation in Cuba. While my peers chimed in, I felt like Joey from “Friends” as I nodded my head in agreement, even though I had no idea what they were talking about. As I learned about the embargo and its impact on America, I became intrigued and asked someone near me, “Wait, when did this all start?”

I was answered with a judgmental stare. “Over 50 years ago.”

I share this story not because I am proud of it, but because I know I’m not the only one.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the Baylor Bubble that I forget there is a world outside of the Waco city limits. At times, college can feel like year-round summer camp. You get to have sleepovers with your friends every night, wear athletic clothes to class, and participate in fun events like intramurals and All-University Sing. We have the whole rest of our lives to worry about adult things like the economy and politics, so why think about it now?

Although college should be enjoyed, it’s also a time to prepare for the future and transition into adulthood. It took that embarrassing experience in debate class (and others like it) to make me realize that I want to open my eyes to what’s going on in the world. If I can take the time to learn the names of my 250-plus sorority sisters, then I should know the names of important world figures.

The good news is, I’ve found a resource that makes reading the news fun: TheSkimm newsletter. Every weekday I wake up with a new email in my inbox that summarizes the most important news of the day, written in a way that is interesting and easy to understand.

TheSkimm was launched by two women in their 20s who have experience as NBC News associate producers. They have a passion for news and saw that many people do not have the time or interest to share this hobby.

Their website describes their business as a service for anyone short on time. They understand you’re busy, and they don’t want that to be an excuse anymore. (Famous Skimmers include Oprah and Reese Witherspoon. If Elle Woods is doing it, then you know it’s a smart choice.)

While TheSkimm is targeted toward women in their 20s and mid-30s, there are plenty of options for the men out there, too. Try listening to an NPR podcast in the car or during a workout. Download the app from your favorite news station, and check it in between classes.

Social media like Twitter or Facebook can also be a source for news, but you have to be careful what you believe. Don’t let your opinions be formed by that one high school friend that rants about Obama constantly. Do the research for yourself, so that way you can filter through all of the lies and hype on the Internet.

Reading the news also provides a much-needed sense of perspective. After learning about the measles outbreak, suddenly your bad test grade doesn’t seem so bad.

No newsletter or app will turn you into a news junkie overnight, but it’s a good start. Instead of living up to the millennial stereotype, we can use our phones for more than just selfies. If we form these habits while in college, then we can grow up to be informed members of society. Then, hopefully, you won’t find yourself caught like a deer in the headlights when someone brings up foreign affairs.

So next time you’re taking a Buzzfeed quiz to determine which Harry Potter character is your soul mate, consider checking CNN instead.

Amanda Hayes is a junior film and digital media major from Coppell. She is a reporter and regular columnist for the Lariat.