By: Sydnee Duke, APSU Journalism Student
What they don’t tell you on the day that you declare yourself a communications major is that it will be the final day of your life that you can simply get by with things being “easy”. Your advisor doesn’t tell you that the amount of information you’re going to have to retain over the next few semesters is most definitely going to make you feel like your head is on the verge of exploding. (Except mine actually did, but I clearly didn’t listen) They don’t tell you that most of the stories you will cover may not make the paper, or even the website. They don’t tell you that this is not a 9 to 5 job, and you will be awake early and asleep late in order to get everything done on your to-do list. But they do tell you that it will be worth it, and they’re right.
I walked into my news reporting class on a fall morning with my head held high and every bit of optimism in my heart shining through me. I was eager to learn everything that I possibly could about journalism, because I wanted to succeed in it. I quickly learned that there was so much more to it than just writing things down. It was then that I was told it would be hard. This class prepared me greatly for my new position with the school paper. What better way to learn how to be a journalist than to be a student journalist right? Again I entered that office with confidence and optimism, eager to learn every aspect of journalism so that I could be versatile for future employers.
Within my first few weeks at the school paper I found myself questioning if I was good enough to do this. Trying to juggle a full time school schedule, a job, and now writing for the paper had me beyond stressed out. I was brand new, so I wasn’t being assigned the stories that I dreamed of covering, but something about it still felt right. After a short time at the paper I had the opportunity to attend the Southeastern Journalism Conference, with several guest speakers from the profession. They all told me it would be hard. That scared me. Our guest speaker, Kristin Luna, told us to be ready to fail on more occasions than one. She told us that we are going to have to work hard and push the limits, but there is always a chance that things will not work out. A week later, I was assigned a story that turned out to be fabricated and the story I was given to replace it was given one day before my deadline, and my sources had yet to get back to me. I felt defeated. I wanted to give up, but then I remember what that guest speaker had told us. “Journalism is like our lives. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.” (Luna, 2016) Every time something doesn’t go your way, let that be motivation to work even harder. Journalism really is like life itself. There will be moments of failure, and moments of success. If you give up after one thing goes wrong, then it was all for nothing. You must fight to give people the news, no matter how big or small. And you must do so with purpose. Journalism is full of uncertainty, but the beauty behind that is you are able to pull out the truth and share it with the world.