How getting involved outside of Fox helped me find a community I love

Public Engagement Coordinator Emily Lewis reflects on her experience at Temple and how her involvement in activities outside her major helped her grow as a person.


When I sat down in my first class at Temple, Human Resource Management, I looked around and was surprised by what I saw. It felt like all of the students were dressed in dark colors, had sticker-free water bottles and laptops and looked overwhelmingly serious. 

My bright blue water bottle, Harry Styles stickers and purple laptop cover felt like neon signs pointing to me. I felt like I didn’t fit in among the typical business students who came to class in suits and business casual attire. It seemed like my lack of direction in life was a sign of weakness and not something I was encouraged to explore. 

My business peers were excited about joining student professional organizations and comparing their investment portfolios while I wanted to see everything Temple had to offer. I thought I would be involved in everything at Temple that I was involved with in high school: volleyball, music, theater, dance, yearbook and maybe even student government. 

I had so many interests I wanted to continue exploring, but I felt like those were seen as unimportant because they weren’t furthering my career. My school’s overachieving culture felt toxic and overwhelming. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough to prepare for my future. It took getting involved outside of Fox for me to find confidence in who I was and what my strengths were. 

I applied on a whim for a social media role at The Temple News in April 2021. I had just declared a marketing major, so the Audience Engagement Editor position felt like a good step forward. I didn’t know it at the time, but that decision would be one of the most impactful of my college career. 

I met Maggie Fitzgerald and Fallon Roth during my first year on staff, two of the most impressive women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. They are incredibly talented, driven and passionate and have inspired me so much these past years. I don’t think The Temple News would have meant as much to me if I hadn’t worked with them. 

Maggie and Fallon showed me that creativity and personality are strong traits for women in leadership roles. They made me feel like I belonged and my contributions to the paper were valuable. They make this paper what it is, and I’m so grateful for their friendship. 

The Temple News also inspired me to add a public relations minor to my studies. I was surrounded by Klein majors in the newsroom and envied how their school valued self-expression while simultaneously preparing students for their careers. 

I was able to carve out a niche for myself in communications after I joined Klein, combining the structure from my marketing degree with the creativity of PR to find enjoyment in both. 

The Temple News community inspired me, but being an active member of the Temple Honors program also helped me branch out. I would have disappeared in the crowd at Temple if it wasn’t for this vast network of people. 

Temple Honors is interdisciplinary and a true amalgamation of students who are celebrated for the unique ways they view the world. It helped me determine who I was outside of any degrees or jobs I might have in the future, and I’m so thankful for all the opportunities awarded to me by this program.

It’s important for business students to try things that aren’t necessarily “career-advancing” opportunities. By challenging myself outside of Alter Hall, I became a more well-rounded, empathetic and determined creator of the future. 

I’ve learned there’s more to life than internships and student professional organizations, and I’m thankful I was able to gain diverse experiences while in college. 

Getting involved outside of Fox was the best thing that ever happened to me. I love my field of study, but I’ve learned that what’s on my diploma doesn’t have to define me. Engaging with different types of people, learning from their strengths and exploring new opportunities is what college is all about.

I encourage anyone who feels like the culture at their school is suffocating to make the active choice to look elsewhere in the university for fulfillment.

When I walk across the stage on May 8, I’ll do so knowing I pushed myself to explore and learn while at Temple without focusing on only my career and I’m really proud of myself for that. My diploma will say “Marketing,” but my memories will be much more meaningful.

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