Joshua Nelson, a double major in English and history, also balances duties as the assistant editor-in-chief of “Metaphor,” Weber State University’s undergraduate literary journal. Going into its 32nd year of publication, “Metaphor” is published annually in the spring and features writing, music and art from undergraduate students of any major.
The journal offers an opportunity for students to be published in a professional setting, as well as a chance to see how a journal publishing process goes by participating in the staff.
Nelson said joining the journal staff is easy.
“I started with ‘Metaphor’ when I walked up to the booth in the union and put my name on a paper,” Nelson said. “That was it. I started going to the meetings and have been with them now for two years.”
The staff meets once a week on Wednesdays. While the “Metaphor” staff is open to any undergraduate student to join, in order to be the assistant editor-in-chief, a student must apply and then be chosen by both the editor-in-chief and the adviser. The prospective assistant editor-in-chief must have been on staff for at least a year prior, but otherwise, there are no other set requirements, and any undergraduate student from any major can apply.
As assistant editor-in-chief, one of Nelson’s main responsibilities is planning the High School Editors Conference, which is held annually during Spring Break.
“Schools will come up to WSU for the whole day, and we do a lot of workshops on creating writing,” Nelson said. “This year we’re working with villain creation, world creation and absurdist poetry. After the workshops, there’s an open mic and a writing contest.”
Workshop topics are chosen and taught by students on the “Metaphor” staff. High schools invited to attend this year’s High School Editors Conference include the DaVinci Academy, Two Rivers High School, Fremont High School, Ogden High School, Weber High School, Roy High School, and other various high schools and middle schools from the Weber and Davis counties.
Besides functioning as a venue for recruiting prospective students to WSU, the event gives the staff opportunities to build and teach workshops while giving younger students a chance to discuss creative writing and other liberal arts topics in a college setting.
In addition to his “Metaphor” responsibilities, Nelson is also working on his double major in English and history.
“They go very well together,” said Nelson about his chosen majors. “As a history major, you’re writing a ton of papers, just like as an English major, but it’s not the same. It’s a different angle. For English, you’re focused purely on the text, finding symbolism, analysis and perspective. For history, you’re studying context. You look at a document, and you draw conclusions about the society it came from. It’s literature on a macro level. I’ve often said of myself that when I should be writing technically, I’m too artistic, but when I’m writing artistically, I’m too technical. Luckily, the two blend very well, because no one wants to read a boring paper. You need to craft it in such a way to make it engaging to the reader. If history isn’t engaging, then what’s the point of studying it?”
Nelson said he values his education and chosen majors.
“Don’t discount the value of a liberal arts education,” Nelson said. “A lot of people are preoccupied with majoring in their career. You don’t necessarily have to do that. Liberal arts teaches you how to think critically, how to analyze, how to take data, develop an opinion and then prove it. It’s valuable in any workplace.”