Campus organizations can provide a rich and fulfilling experience for any student, and no one knows this better than sophomore Jason Phillips. With his sights set on a fast-paced journalism career, Phillips made plans to build his skillset and enroll in a robust academic program. By his second year at the University of Rhode Island, he found three. It was the Journalism program that prompted Phillips to move from his hometown of Barrington, Illinois, to the Ocean State, but it was the connections he made through campus organizations that helped Phillips find his place and eventually declare a triple major.
Hoping to become more involved as a student journalist, Phillips sought out the university’s newspaper, The Good Five-Cent Cigar, where he says a job interview with Donna Hayden, Office Administrator in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric, was the gateway to a new academic program. Hayden offered Phillips a job at the Writing Production Lab, and it didn’t take much time before he decided to declare a second major in Writing and Rhetoric. In addition to his work at The Good Five-Cent Cigar, Phillips serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the university’s literary arts magazine, Ether(bound). It was there that Phillips finally found his niche and declared his third major — this time, in English. Taking on an additional major can seem like a daunting task, but it’s a breeze for Phillips, who says his goals are always shifting. “I realized adding a third major in English was possible and really doable. I decided that I had already committed to a double major, so what was one more?” he says.
For Phillips, the community he’s built in the College of Arts and Sciences has been the most rewarding part of his time on campus. “Each of these organizations has grown the community of people that I know and enriched my life,” he says, noting that it’s more than just the organization that makes a lasting impact — it’s the people, too. Though only a sophomore, Phillips has proven himself to be a seasoned member of the College, where he plans to remain active in the community. Although he has new plans to go into publishing, Phillips says he will keep journalism on the back burner. “My plans could change at any time, which is why being a triple major is so helpful for me,” he says. “I have so many future opportunities because I can apply three different degrees.” When asked if he had any advice for students interested in the Arts and Sciences, he says: “Take advantage of every opportunity possible, say yes to everything. Right now is the best time to try new things with few consequences, so try everything you can. I have had some of my best experiences from saying yes to things.”
Check out Phillip’s work on Ether(bound) Magazine.
~Written by Taylor Petrini, English Major, URI Class of 2021
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