I’m done, it’s over – the first year of my journalism degree is complete. It all began in September when I started as a fresher on another degree course, but here I am 228 days later with all of my assignments and exams finished. I now have a packed but also relaxed four months ahead of me full of placements, a holiday, a fitness regime and so much more! Here’s my reflection from a year ago on my social work course if you want to take a look at that too, but I wanted to take the time to reflect on how well this year has gone for me!
So we’ll go back to September, all those weeks ago. The first week of my course was amazing and it has stayed at way from then. I’ve learnt so much from all of the core journalism skills such as how to write news and feature articles and how to write them well, how to video edit, how to take pictures well, how to use social media professionally…I could go on. I’ve developed so many skills from my course. But I’ve also learnt a lot from my extra-curricular activities too from how to broadcast live from an event, how to react to breaking news and again so much more. It’s been a whirlwind learning experience and one I’ve enjoyed even through the trials and tribulations.
But not once have I said to myself “why am I doing journalism?” I’ve never doubted that this course is for me from day 1 until now – and that’s a great thing. I’ll not be beginning a new course in September that’s for sure! Journalism is the career for me – it’s only taken a few years for me to realise it! The regret I had for not pursuing it at the age of 18 has gone. I’m glad I’m doing it now.
However, there are things that have changed. I’ve chopped and changed my mind about the route I want to take. I came onto the course determined on a path in print and doing politics. A few weeks into the course I wanted to do fashion, then I switched to wanting to do arts and entertainment journalism. It’s changed numerous times since – and that’s okay. It’s the beauty of journalism as you don’t know what you’ll be doing day to day. If you know me, you may be thinking – doesn’t that make you anxious? Not anymore – it excites me, which puts another tick in the journalism box!
My mental health has improved since the start too, especially my OCD and social anxiety. My health anxiety still rears it’s head every so often, but my other two conditions have improved. I can go into big crowds, shake people’s hands if I need to/want to and I can go up to people and ask for an interview – and again so much more!
I’ve achieved so much since starting too. Where do I begin?
- Andrea Faustini.
- Natalie Bennett.
- Lord David Puttnam.
- Sir Peter Bazalgette.
- Dr Hilary Jones.
- Denise Welch.
- Beverly Knight.
- Eamonn Holmes.
- Alastair Stewart.
- Jimmy Montgomery.
- John Hays.
- Jude Kirton Darling.
- Jonathan Arnott.
I’ve also had many opportunities:
- I covered Sunderland’s City of Culture bid – and turned down interviewing Frankie from Frankie and the Heartstrings!
- Presented three shows on my own for Spark Futures and presented on the SR News Show/Wear Here.
- Started writing for magazines such as Morph Magazine and Kettle Mag.
- Had a go at podcasting!
- Contributed to International Women’s Day.
- Became deputy editor, a resident editor and hold other positions at various publications.
- Went to the Houses of Parliament to represent the University of Sunderland at an event.
- Interviewed brilliant local people and organisations and attended some amazing events.
- Got my first byline in a magazine and then one in a magazine outside of university.
- Made my TV debut as a journalism student on Made in Tyne and Wear for Press Pit.
- Did a bit of production work and ran Spark FM’s Breakfast Show on my own on four occasions!
- Became a breakfast newsreader on Spark FM with SR News – and realised I had a passion for radio.
- Became a Huffington Post blogger and got articles published in Marie Claire and had a quote in the Daily Mirror and on Buzzfeed.
- Nearly got interviews with Sarah Millican, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Sam Allardyce.
- Appeared on BBC Breakfast, Capital, Heart and Smooth – and got an internship there in the summer.
- Covered Denise Robertson’s funeral which was a learning curve.
- Reported live at events from the Chinese New Year celebrations to the sale of Beyonce’s tickets in Sunderland!
- Covered the local elections and did it again the next day for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
- Became a blogging consultant with the Northumbria, Tyne and Wear NHS and a production and communications assistant with Northern Bear Films!
I was also nominated for two national awards.
I’ve done a lot more but these are the ones that have stood out to me since I started my degree.
Here’s to another two years of amazing opportunities!