Just like that, another school year is over. Yesterday I walked out of my second and last exam, and now I am officially finished my second year of university—AKA I’m halfway done my Bachelor’s degree (whoa). I feel like I always notice school years pass by quickly. This year was no exception. It’s probably a cliché by this point, but that doesn’t make it any less true; I feel like I just moved into my apartment and reunited with my friends on our first day of class.
Last year I wrote about four things I learned in my first year of journalism school. I wanted to write a similar post this year, but I’ve been having trouble putting what I’ve learned into words (a funny predicament for a writer, I know). At the beginning of the year, I had a loosely defined goal in my head: to write more for news outlets on campus. Now, I can look back and say that I absolutely achieved that goal. Among the varied subjects I wrote about this year: the psychological impact of living with insects; street photography; sexism in politics; and the 2018 Women’s March.
Through my experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, I became much more confident in my abilities as a journalist. I think that’s why I can’t pinpoint exactly what I learned this year—because aside from lots of little technical things (like how to code a drop cap—a larger capital letter— at the beginning of a sentence), the main thing I learned was, well, that I am capable of a lot more than I thought I was.
I’ve always stored away cool article and projects ideas in my head, and this year I got to make them into reality. I got to publish a magazine. I got to make a parallax scroll website. I got to write about the impacts of policy on real life people.
Sometimes writing about the experiences of one or two people can speak volumes about the bigger issue at stake.
More than my first year of studying journalism, this year gave me a better sense of what I want to do in the future. I’m still open to a range of aspects of journalism, and I know there will be beats and publications that exist when I graduate that don’t exist now. But now I know, for example, that I love writing media critiques (as you can probably tell by scrolling through some of my recent blog posts).
I also love writing long feature articles; I love talking to experts and learning about their research, and I love talking to ordinary people to find out how a topic has impacted their life. That’s something I wish I saw more of in journalism today—reporting about how the things in the headlines, like new healthcare legislation, actually impact people. Sometimes writing about the experiences of one or two people can speak volumes about the bigger issue at stake.
If these are the thoughts I’m having two years into my journalism degree, I can’t wait to see everything I’ve learned at the end of my four years. In the meantime, I’ll be here learning, reporting and, of course, blogging.