One of the scariest things about university is knowing you’re doing the right course – there are so many courses with slightly different names that are all very slightly different and how do you know which is the one for you?
That’s a whole different post in itself but for today I thought I’d write about what it’s like to be a journalism student.
If you don’t like talking to strangers, you’ve got to learn to do it pretty fast – sure, you might not have to do it in a real life journalism job but you have to be good at socialising, talking on the phone and emailing strangers. As a university journalist, a lot of the stories you’ll be covering are very locally based so you have to work with the locals to get the story! It’s not something that a lot of people are comfortable with, but it’s something you figure you have to do and you get to a point where you just get on with it.
You’re always busy – always looking for a story, with live news days, assignments, interviews, research workbooks, trying to find work experience. I don’t even need to mention wanting to join any societies or having a social life or down time, right? Because it’s a given that it’s all going to be a squeeze. Generally, you need to be the kind of person that likes being busy and works well under stress, as well as having really good time management but you’ve got to be stressed like 90% of the time. A relaxed journalist has forgotten their to do list. (Over stereotyping to the max, but you get the gist).
You’ll have a strength, but you have to focus on your weakness – I do multimedia journalism, which means I learn about producing video, audio, pictures and copy for a full package. A lot of courses approach an angle similar to this now because of the kind of multimedia world we live in but in multimedia it’s completely equal in all four strands. Personally my strength is writing (as if this blog wasn’t enough to suggest that) and I like taking photos and making videos but I find audio quite difficult, particularly when I like editing in a YouTube style which makes it difficult when news editing doesn’t do jumpcuts. Focusing on your weaknesses is a good way to approach it because then you have strengths and then other skills that are just as proficient.
You’ll have friends and flatmates that just don’t get it – they won’t get why you go into uni for 8am sometimes or why you go out at the weekend to film packages for newsday. Personally, all of my friends do BSc courses and take the mick out of me for doing a BA course, but when they see the workload and hear about what I have to do, they have on occassion (not that they’ll admit it) accepted that each course has it’s difficulties and they wouldn’t do my course if you paid them. Right this second, I’ve had two of my eight before-Christmas deadlines pass and my flatmates are yet to get any assignments which is pretty disheartening, but you’ll power through it.
You might not even want to be a journalist – the course teaches you such valuable applicable and life skills but the news journalist industry is hard and you have to be a very particular kind of person to really want it. A lot of people don’t – I know people that want to be photographers, PR assistants and publishers but journalism is a very difficult industry and you’ll admire the people that do it whilst finding your own direction to go in.
Journalism teaches you so many amazing skills – a little bit of multimedia knowledge can get you a long way, but it’s your own interest in video, photography, audio and writing that’ll get you anywhere. It’s that desire to learn and for knowledge, and just being that little bit too nosy but you’re not ashamed of it.
I love being nosy and I love studying journalism because I feel like I’m already in the industry – until this very moment I didn’t even think I wanted to be a journalism but being a newsroom is actually really fun. Working with new people every week and getting to build on each others skills is a wonderful course to be on.
Multimedia journalism is a wonderful course and it’s made me way happier than I ever thought I could be.
I don’t normally write this here, but if you’d like to do a profile on your course and some tips for someone who may be considering taking it up at uni, please drop us a message at our contact page, message our Facebook page or send us a tweet!
Also caffeine. So much caffeine.
In The Student Seat: Sophie
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