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Julia Dzurillay: An Early Grad with a Determined Attitude

Name: Julia Dzurillay

Age: 21

Major: Journalism and Professional Writing

Minor(s): Music and Anthropology

Hometown: Rutherford, NJ


Person at TCNJ that inspired you the most:


My mind goes straight to the Journalism and Professional Writing department. They inspired me as a journalist, mostly to “get off my ass and knock on doors,” but they also inspired me as a woman in the current political climate. Their unique stories and kind demeanors helped me grow in so many different ways. I found mentorship from Professor Webber. I gained knowledge from Professor Shaw and Professor Lounsberry. I built my confidence with Professor Pearson. It’s these strong women and talented reporters that inspired me to do my best, both inside and outside of the classroom.


Favorite class you took at TCNJ:


Introduction to Cultural Anthropology with Dr. C! My professor truly opened my eyes to a new world that I didn’t even know I could study at TCNJ. As soon as the class ended, I added my minor in Anthropology.


How did TCNJ prepare you for the job search process?


Aside from Handshake and a few gracious professors, I feel like my job search has largely been an independent one. Even as a student, there really were no organizations on campus to help writers find internships, so during my junior year, my friend and I started TCNJ’s Chapter of Ed2010. This club helped student writers establish connections in the journalism industry and through our club, I earned my first two internships within the magazine industry. It was such a cool opportunity that helped me get my foot in the door as a writer and also helped me meet a lot of incredible people.


What’s your top tip for being confident on an interview?


Back in high school, I was a regular competitor on the Academic Decathlon team. I know, *hair flip* impressive. A large part of the competition was writing speeches, being interviewed and performing impromptu speeches. Although I never “placed” for the interview portion of the competition, it was always my favorite part of the day because it was a chance to step away from the tests to have, what felt like, conversation. As an adult, I hold that same attitude on job interviews. You’ve already done the hard stuff – it’s all there on your resume – now all you have to do is relax and have a conversation about it.


Aside from that, a top tip I’d have for being confident on an interview is wearing an empowering outfit. If you look good and you feel good, you’ll be more comfortable and confident!

Source: Julia Dzurillay

What are your top tips for networking in college?

To be completely honest, I have a hard time networking because it feels so disingenuous. I know how necessary it is in most creative fields, but that pressure definitely doesn’t make it any easier. I guess my best advice is to be as genuine as possible.


How do you try to make yourself stand out?


I don’t think you should ever exaggerate or force anything to get a job. If it’s meant to be, you’ll get it just by being yourself! That being said, I always try to email someone from the editorial department or the hiring team after sending out my job application. It’s a good way to reach out, to introduce yourself and to show that you really care about the position. (One time I even emailed an editor my transcript and she mentioned it during my interview. We laughed, talked about a few of my classes and I got the job. You never know!)


How are you brushing up on writing while being out of college classes and looking for a job?


I heard that a good way to improve your writing is to read. Aside from reading the news every morning, I’ve been reading a lot of classic novels. (I’m in the middle of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë right now!) It’s something I never had the chance to do during college because I’d be so busy, but I’m loving it and I’d highly recommend it to anyone with some free time.


What have you learned from previous internships that you feel is helping you now?


Rejection. In college, I would apply for dozens of internships every semester and maybe hear back from one or two. At first, it felt like there was something wrong with me. I knew I had a good GPA and a beautiful resume, so why weren’t they emailing me back? After a while, I learned how competitive the journalism industry is. It’s not that my resume or my GPA was bad necessarily, it’s that so many journalism majors from so many different colleges were in the exact same boat as me. I eventually got a few internships, earned a few bylines, “networked” and prepared for the next chapter in my life, which is right now. Now that I’m post-grad, it feels like I’ve sent out hundreds of applications, but I’m still relentless and persistent, which is exactly what you should be if you’re passionate about something.


What’s your dream job?


Anyone who knows me knows I love music. Writing profiles about artists, reviewing albums, attending concerts and analyzing lyrics has been a dream of mine since forever. I also really love food, (I even wrote a food column for the Signal,) so I would love to work for a magazine like Bon Appétit or for a food website like Delish. I also think doing Public Relations for a nonprofit would be a good fit for me and I’m very into politics, but I think I’d be too biased to write about that. As you can see, I’m a mess. But I think the thread that connects it all is writing and editing – producing content and working in a creative field. As long as I’m doing that, I think I’ll be happy.


What advice would you give to a college freshmen in journalism? Seniors?


To college freshman in journalism: Being a journalist is definitely not easy or lucrative. Do you love the early morning walk to the bookstore and the ink from the New York Times rubbing off on your fingers? Do you get excited thinking about stories for the Signal? You can make waves, you can change lives, you can make history but only with a fire and a passion to be a trustworthy reporter. Take that fire and bring it with you to work and bring it with you to class everyday, because in the end, that’s what makes a good journalist.


To college seniors in journalism: Congrats and good luck!


Olivia Grasing is a journalism student who aspires to work in the fashion/lifestyle industry.
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