By Holly Atherton- Julian
- When I left school in 2009 I found myself sitting on the fence when it came to deciding what I should do at University.
In fact I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go at all.
My mother would remind me that as a small and unapologetically opinionated child, I was adamant I would one day write newspapers, informing the world at large what I thought about everything.
And while the drive to do just that would sometimes leave me, it would always return in full force.
It’s five years later and I’m now two-thirds of the way through my Journalism degree at the University of Portsmouth.
What has surprised me the most is how different it is from my initial expectations, but it has certainly exceeded them.
I originally, and somewhat naively, pictured a journalist as someone pounding the beat, taking some notes and writing up a story.
And while this is part of it, this image has been fundamentally challenged.
Journalism isn’t traditionally associated with a university level of education; in fact most of my lecturers went straight from school to a newsroom and worked their way up the ladder.
But todays jobs market and the industry as a whole is changing and a degree certainly helps you put one foot on the proverbial ladder.
But there are a few things I wish I had know before I started, and a few simple things I could have done to give me a much needed head-start.
If you’re thinking journalism may be your passion here are a few things I would recommend doing before taking the plunge.
Firstly, it’s not just about writing.
The modern journalist makes video; designs magazine spreads as well as traditional newsgathering.
And the earlier you can get to grips with software like Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere Pro, the easier it will be.
If you can, download the free 30-day trial and play around, while you’ll be taught how to use these things, a prior glimpse can make it all less daunting.
Secondly, read the news. Daily
I know this may seem like an obvious one, but I know how easy it is to shove it way down your list of priorities.
Know what’s current, it may not be interesting to you and it doesn’t need to be.
But, if you want to be a journalist your lecturers and editors will expect you to know what’s going on in the world around you, and for you to want to know about it too.
Finally, don’t be afraid to hear the word ‘No’.
I’ve had to learn to be brave, as you will find out.
I’m generally a chatty person so at first it’s hard not to be perturbed or upset when people don’t want to talk to you.
Don’t let it put you off, and also don’t be afraid to be persistent within reason.
It’s hard work, and sometimes I feel so much busier then my housemates from other courses.
But it is rewarding, I get to go out and explore what is around me and the degree combines academic with vocational skills, and I definitely think I’m going to need them.
If you think it is for you, Journalism as a degree and even University as a whole rewards, and an experience I wholeheartedly recommend.
If you would like to write for Loud or get an internship find out more here.