Many students leaving high school and coming into college dream about being a part of their school’s newspaper staff. The opportunity to write and edit stories at an introductory level is astronomical for those of us who love journalism. I was one of those people.
The Villager, Stevenson University’s student news site, is one of the most important aspects of my college experience as well as for many other students who enjoy writing and collaboration. However, it is a lot of work to get to this point.
Communication majors and some English majors all start out taking introductory journalism courses as the initial way of getting their feet wet writing in AP format. Some students find that journalism is not for them. This is a discipline that takes a lot of thought and consideration when it comes to putting together stories.
Of course there comes a time when students may be assigned a story that does not interest them in the slightest, which is a challenge for some. However, the chance to write a story about something that is important or exciting makes the experience worth it.
One of my favorite opportunities as a journalism student was being assigned a spotlight article. At that time, I was taking a basic history elective. My professor, Jennifer Erdman, was so sharp and quick-witted that I knew she was the perfect person to write about. I went through the process of setting up an interview and then spent over an hour picking her brain for details about her life.
This memory sticks out because it was incredibly entertaining, but also because it meant that I was doing something I adored. Journalism gave me the ability to talk with people, learn, and then combine everything into a piece, which is exactly what I was looking for when choosing my major.
After completing introductory journalism classes, joining the editorial staff was the next step. Being in an editor position is a completely different experience because it gives a full behind-the-scenes look at all of the moving parts of The Villager. Everything from pitching story ideas to critically reading articles from other students has taught me a lot about the responsibilities of a journalist.
I spent two semesters being a section editor and honing all of the skills necessary to get me where I am today, now editor-in-chief. This may be simply a title or another layer of work experience to some people, but it holds a lot of weight.
There has been a lot of extracurricular work for a broke college student like myself and many others, but putting in the time to get to this point is rewarding. The discipline of journalism is one of my passions, and I am grateful to have attained this position for the meantime. I challenge others to find their niche while in college and stick with it.