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A Guide to Surviving a Journalism Course

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Whether it be print, broadcast or multi-platform, studying a degree in journalism is one of the most competitive and multi skill based course you can do. And with places into the best courses becoming increasingly more difficult to get into, once you do get your University place, a sigh of relief- (or a few drinks!) is most definitely in order.

Journalism, I’m sure is a passion for everyone who applies and I’m sure you’re all up to date on the latest news and current affairs. But with all the madness of freshers week, meeting your new flat mates and trying to make friends on your course, keeping up to date on what politician has been having an affair this week is probably far from your minds. But with the whirlwind of freshers week over, this is a good time to get to grips with what is going on in, not just on a national level but what is happening locally, on the streets of your new city you’ve moved into.

Which brings me onto the next point, there is always going to be someone on your course who is one step ahead of everyone else, already a radio presenter and written for numerous newspapers. Now at first you’re most likely to be highly impressed by this person, but trust me he isn’t the only one, he’s just more, ahem- open about what experience he has. So the solution? Grin a bear it! Smile and congratulate them, saying you have your own projects up your sleeve. Then as soon as you get home to your humble student flat, APPLY FOR EVERYTHING! This is exactly what I did, Google search all the local radio stations, magazines, newspapers, try student based ones first, and say you’re willing to do anything to help out, for free and get stuck in!

Now, not only are these types of people openly loud about their achievements, they may also feel they are already a big shots in the industry due to Daddy Dearest being a producer at the BBC. Wrong! They are not, you are all first year Journalism students and emphasis on students- none of you are working qualified journalists just yet, that’s why you’re doing the course. So most definitely do not feel threatened by these people, rise above the snobbery and get stuck in on what interests you.

Are you up to date with the legislative process or the outline of the Contempt of Court Act? No, neither was I! Well you’ll soon find out when you’re in your seminars and someone is having a heavy debate about a section 49 order and all you know is the number 49 from the Chinese takeaway menu. Don’t panic! You’re here to learn new things, the best thing you can do is buy the recommended books and get reading! Knowing what people are talking about in seminars is a great feeling and will come once you’ve read up on the things your lecturer rambles on about every week.

So the general gist is to be prepared to put in the extra hours outside of lectures and it will pay off! But don’t forget you are at University, so have fun, that’s one of the real reasons you applied right?!

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