The grownups of the world are incapable of producing original conversation material. When you were younger, discussions invariably included questions about how school is going and remarks about how tall you’ve grown since they saw you last week.
During the summer before college, their affliction only escalates. Since you’ve graduated, every adult you’ve met since your diaper days feels the inexplicable urge to ask where you’re going to school, whether you know you roommate, if you know where you’re living yet and what you’re majoring in.
This past summer, regardless of whether the conversation was stimulating or not, I had to answer those questions. I’m going to IU. I don’t know my roommate. I’m living in Forest. I’m majoring in journalism.
That last answer evoked a variety of responses. Some people were bursting with enthusiasm, but most raised an eyebrow and skeptically remarked, “Oh, that’s nice.” Braver souls ventured further to inform me how difficult it is to find a job in journalism. Perhaps you should consider other things, like marketing. That’s similar, right?
Yes, that’s similar, but no, I do not want to study marketing. I want to study journalism, and I want to find a job in journalism.
I realize that the skepticism is merited, given the current state of the profession. Yet, I’m not anxious about finding a job, mainly because of one thing—I’m studying journalism at Indiana University.
IU’s School of Journalism, housed in Ernie Pyle Hall, is one of the premier j-schools in the nation. Its publications and staff members frequently win national publication and reporting awards. It has a variety of travel courses, which journey to all parts of the globe, from Kenya to Japan. It has chapters of national journalism organizations, a wide array of specializations from which students can choose, award-winning faculty, accomplished speakers and an internship program in London.
When students take advantage of all of the opportunities the school offers, they can land jobs at organizations like the Associated Press, the Washington Post and CNN after graduation.
Of course, immediate success isn’t guaranteed just by receiving a journalism degree from IU. Students have to take advantage of these opportunities, work in the student media and find internships—something the j-school also helps with.
Just from my first few weeks on campus, I’m already getting involved in journalism. I’m living in the Media Living Learning Center and working hard in the journalism class I’m taking this semester. I’m currently being trained to work as a reporter for the Region section of the Indiana Daily Student. I’m researching what internships are available to underclassmen for next summer, what requirements they have and when to apply.
When those adults respond skeptically to my career choice, I assure them it can be done. With the right school behind me and the determination to find and seize opportunities, journalism still can be a viable career. Journalism isn’t dying, I tell people; it’s just changing. Which means it’s becoming something better—what a perfect time to get involved.