This week I am slowly packing up my life and heading back home to Essex. My time at Staffordshire University has finally come to an end and I’m feeling a little bit sad about it, so I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learnt.
I think the most obvious thing I have learnt at university is how to write well. I don’t think I was a bad writer before the course but, looking back at some of the stuff I wrote for A Levels and on placements before I started uni, I can’t believe how much I have improved. I now have a portfolio full of (what I think and hope is) quality writing.
I’ve learnt about media law and public affairs and by some miracle passed the NCTJ exams for them – still not entirely sure how that happened but I’m thrilled it did! And although I really struggled with it, and it was pretty boring at times, I can honestly say it is an essential part of the NCTJ course. You only have to look at the Leveson Inquiry to see how important it is that a journalist knows the laws about what they can and can’t do or publish. And as for public affairs, yes it was a drag, but it covers so much of what a reporter writes about and it massively helps to understand it.
And obviously I’ve learnt shorthand and production and all sorts of other practical skills.
But beyond that, I’ve learnt about what I want to do. I’ve known for a really long time that I wanted to be a journalist (I was 15 when I did my first work experience with a magazine). But over the last three years I’ve started to work out where I want to be within the industry. I’ve realised that I’m actually a bigger news geek than I ever thought was possible and that I prefer writing news to features.
And, most importantly of all, I’ve learnt that I need to have more confidence in myself. I think one of the most important things that any journalist can have is a bit of confidence. Now obviously I don’t mean being cocky or anything like that, but just confidence in your ability to do a job well.
Anyone else graduating with a journalism degree this year? What have you learnt over the last three years? Let me know via the comments or tweet us @wannabehacks
Image on homepage courtesy of neonbubble
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look