Fuzzable Blogs: January 20 – Becoming a journalist

So early last year I did a bit of an impulsive thing.

After years and years of studying psychology and counselling, I – unbeknownst to anyone around me – sent off an application for a place on a journalism course.

Yeah, I know, bit of a dramatic career change for a girl who was set to go on a Clinical and Health Psychology masters degree.

But when I was younger (which feels like donkeys’ years ago now), I always thought about becoming an advice columnist or a music journalist.

And after I lost my nan, I decided it was time to follow my naive baby Jenn’s dream of writing.

So I started working over on CelebMix and it really just increased my desire to work towards becoming a journalist.

Now here I am, in the final week of doing an NCTJ accredited diploma in the damn subject and trust me when I say it’s had its ups and downs.

This year, the awarding body NCTJ decided to play around with its programme of study a little (more like ‘A Lot’) meaning my class and I were playing good ‘ole guinea pigs.

It sucked. More so as someone who didn’t really have a fucking clue what she’d got herself into.

The first few weeks were like living out a dream. I felt like I was walking on cloud bloody nine. I was doing what I had always wanted to.

With the excitement of covering events, doing interviews and meeting people blinding me with excitement, I got lost in the bliss and forgot all about the reality of the situation.

I had to do exams.

Now don’t get a girl wrong, I wasn’t the worst person academically. In fact, I had never failed something until I got on this course.

Yes, after 22 years on this very earth, I had done pretty alright in exams and during my education.

But, shorthand (where you write in pretty symbols so it’s a “shorter way of writing”) is not my friend – so it seems.

When it came to education, I was someone who always chose to do what she was good at or enjoyed doing rather than taking on a challenge all because I was (and still am) scared of failure.

And I have cried – oh god I have sobbed numerous times – over this course, and how hard it is, and how stupid it has made me feel. Because I didn’t understand what was expected of me and I was so out of my depth and that frightened me.

I was doing something I enjoyed and lowkey something I was alright at but it was the hardest challenge I have ever faced academically.

At one point I found myself in a massive newsroom surrounded by people typing away at their desks, seemingly important and spewing out articles within minutes like it was nothing to them.

Intimidated felt like an understatement.

More so when I did a placement with a news agency where they required me to carry out interviews on a daily basis, including on the first day.

I had only expected to turn up, sit around twiddling my thumbs, make tea for them all and leave. It was eye-opening.

In fact, the whole journey to becoming a journalist has been one massive unexpectedly enlightening thing in which I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions and considered dropping out on average five times each week.

But I’m here now. The final week of studying and doing exams so I can continue on this journalism journey.

On this very day (which is also my 23rd birthday) I will sit a two and half hour exam in videojournalism. And the rest of this week will consist of me working tirelessly towards the hardest thing I have ever chosen to do in my academic career.

But despite all the hardships I have encountered on this journey and imagine will continue to do so over the years, I would not change it for anything.

I knew this journey into journalism was going to be hard. I knew I was changing the direction my life was going in.

And I know now it will all be worth it in the end.

Written by Jenn

still irish. still a psychology grad and nctj accredited journalist. still hopeful that caroline flack will marry me. ew i'm 23 now.

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