Every day professors tell us all kinds of crazy stuff that we are expected to believe, no questions asked. The top three most mind-baffling professorial assertions I have been subject to thus far are:

1. If your identical twin travels in space at the speed of light, he will return to Earth younger than you. 2. Sex does not, in fact, sell. 3. Face to face meetings should be avoided at all costs, especially when an important decision is being made.

The first claim was made in my advanced astrophysics seminar (read: Big Bang and Beyond lecture) — my least favorite class of all time. The second claim has been made in every class I have ever taken that has the word “communication” in the title. It is the third claim, however, that I find completely distressing.

I, for one, am a big advocate of non-virtual interaction. While I am a self-professed BBM addict, I generally resist AIM/Gchat/Facebook chat in lieu of some good ol’ fashioned conversation. I like to see the people I’m talking to. (Skype doesn’t count.) I could go on and on about the value of face-to-face interaction, but I think what this professor was really getting at was the power of the written word.

Just like my middle school teacher who converted me from pencil to pen by telling me I needed to own my words by demanding their permanence, said prof was encouraging us to articulate, document and own our words. And perhaps there is no better way to document your words than to publish them… which may explain my love of this particular publication. And in the Age of Twitter, everyone has the opportunity to showcase their written thoughts to the world.

For the more extreme among us, another way to add weight to your words is to have them inked on (see our feature, pg. 10). Or perhaps you’d prefer to draft your own seductive movie screenplay (pg. 8) or guiltily pleasurable pop lyric (pg. 14). Regardless of how you decide to do it, never underestimate the value of a little enduring noun-verb action.

Putting Penn to paper, Julia


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