Life as A Student Journalist

There was no doubt in my mind that writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’m not particularly creative and don’t care for children so creative writing or teaching weren’t really options for me when picking major. I also hate legal work so professional writing was out of the game too. Therefore, I decided on journalism.

Journalism is where I thrive! I love to write about meeting new people, music and how art affects people. I like that I live in Norfolk, which has an amazing art scene. I love that I have all of these opportunities presented to me.

Though I thrive in this setting, it wasn’t always easy. I suffer pretty severely from social anxiety. I don’t really talk about it with people who aren’t in my close friend group. But there are days where I don’t go to class because I get so anxious. Talking to new people freaks me out. Which sucks when journalism is like 75 percent talking to new people. I also suffer from depression, which is not as severe as my anxiety but still there. There are stories I refuse to write because I just can’t get it together mentally.

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I try not to let it stop me. And at the end of the day, I have benefited more from my major and going out facing my fears rather than sitting around doing nothing. Not to say it’s been easy - it hasn’t. I’ve been scared, a lot. But if I had let my fear stop me, I wouldn’t have met the cool people I have. I definitely wouldn’t have done the band interviews I have.

The experience I have gained while writing is honestly the only credibility I have. And it’s tough, between my mental health and my social life and actually going to school, adding another whole article due every week is tough.

Life as a student journalist, in short, is a shit ton of writing. Picking journalism as your major, whether it be broadcast or print, you will write your ass off. You will constantly meet and talk to new people. Some of those conversations will stay with you for the rest of your life. Some of them will not. When in doubt - chalk it up to experience.

You’re going to be busy. You need to be so busy that you feel like you are working five different jobs. I currently write for two publications, plus go to school full time and make time to go to concerts and hang out with friends. Get all the experience you can. That’s what journalism is - experience.

My final word of advice is: take a chance. If you have a story idea, if you want to start something new, just go do it! If it fails, it fails. So what? What if it succeeds? Be honest in your writing, even when you know it’s going to offend someone. Write about everything. Write even if no one ever reads it. Because being a student journalist is the coolest, most fun title ever, but it means nothing if you don’t take chances.

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