A folder and a notebook - the year's tales of a student journalist.

by - Friday, October 26, 2012

currently: on holiday! For now.

If you wanted an insight into my life for the past 8-9 months, don't look into my diary.
Not only has that diary been very neglected over this past year (entries dropping from daily to weekly to monthly... I wrote a 14 page diary entry this morning to recap my last two weeks haha), but my diary entry wouldn't show the true extent of what I've been through.

For that, you would need to turn to my folder and notebook.

These, along with my laptop and two cellphones (yes two, I got a new number just for journalism) have been my companions this year. Rarely did I go to uni without these things. My folder contained all my papers and stories. While my notebook contained all elements of life - phone numbers, quotes, questions, and general doodles.

And so, in a way to bring closer to the past three years of my life I've spent studying, and more importantly, my intensive year as a student journalist, I thought now would be a good time to look at my life by the general contents of my folder and notebook.

(Side note: This post isn't to say "Woe is me, being a student journalist is so hard." This is a post to say "This has been my life and all that has encompassed it.")

(Also, this is to make up for why this year has been so shocking with regular blog posts.)

When you open up my folder, the first thing you see on the page is this.
A nicely printed schedule of all the assignments I had during this semester. Thursdays were always D-Day. It would be when our stories were due, or when we would be able to talk to tutors, and sometimes when we'd go out to the local bar and unwind afterwards. (D-Day can also mean Drink Day. See what I did there?)

And of course, as a celebration that I am no longer required to do assignments, I ceremoniously destroyed my assignment schedule. But because it's illegal to build funeral pyres in Auckland, I just ripped it up.
It's more eco-friendly.

Hidden behind my Semester 2 assignment schedule, I found my first semester's one.
(Apologies for horrible picture quality btw. Broken DSLR camera.) In comparison, the workload looks a lot smaller than second semester. But the effort required second semester was much more. Semester 1 was fill of little stories and less word count. But visually, semester 1 looked like a killer.

On the lower half of my folder's front page was a colourfully coordinated timetable of my classes. Featuring my favourite 5 hour break between lectures on Monday during semester 2.
See, it may look like "5 hours! That's plenty of time to do work at uni!" - No it's not. It's five hours of debating what to get for lunch and getting distracted by other people in the newsroom.
But thankfully, it was also five hours of spending it with some of my favourite people. Sure we stressed a heck of a lot, but it was stressing together.

This piece of paper I found this hidden deep in one of the plastic pockets.
And there's a reason why it's hidden. It's shorthand. Don't ask me what it says, but shorthand is what was the biggest fear and challenge for me this year. Yes, just a bunch of squiggly lines on a page was enough to break me down and cry a couple of times. It's a requirement to pass two shorthand passages before you can graduate. And you're only allowed an error margin of 3% in these tests (thanks Boyf for the math). Twice I failed shorthand tests. Twice I saw the light of graduating starting to fade from me. But thankfully I passed my third and fourth two weeks before the semester ended.
(And it is true, that if you don't pass the shorthand requirement, you have to repeat the shorthand portion of the year before you can graduate. It's that serious.)

A Pacific Media Centre business card. My first personal business card and my first journalism break. I mean sure it wasn't printed for me, but I did get to momentarily associate myself with a well-regarded online publication. I remember my first journalism assignment with them. Me and two other students, fresh and inexperienced without a clue in the world what to do, being told "Hey, you three go get a story from this event." And this was where I wrote my first published news article. Now if you told me to write a story from an event, I can easily say "sure, just tell me when and where."

Ah, the journalism approval stamps. Thankfully, being a student journalist means you can have someone older and more sure of what they're doing to approve your work before it ever goes to publication. I'm thankful for our tutors and for being made to read our crappy story and help turn it into something maybe interesting. On the down side, our journalism school killed a lot of trees for our crappy stories. Off to the recycling these go!

Like any good course, you get a lot of theory paperwork. Here's snippets of some of it.
And how often do I take this in? Well let's not answer that. While the practical stuff is really good and you learn plenty from it, it is nice to back things up with theory. One of the most important things I learnt this year from a Law and Ethics class is that you don't need permission to photograph anyone when you're in a public place. Learning that fact helps a lot in life.

Don't ask me why I still have a medical certificate from March in my folder. All I remember is that it required a lot of convincing from many people to even go to the Doctors for this note. Lesson: being stubborn doesn't make you feel better. Antibiotics do.

And of course, what uni folder is not complete without the marks you get back from uni.
Of course I wasn't going to show you the marks I did get. But they were reasonable (aka I haven't failed anything.) New Zealand, be assured future journalists are always being judged by harsh tutors who still use pencils and get annoyed when I forget to put my assignments in Times New Roman.

And of course, the only thing which was not journalism related in my folder:
My design layouts for web media class. I plan to use my newfound knowledge of HTML and CSS and attempt to redesign my blog at some point.


And of course, my lovely pocket notebook (which I've filled for all but three pages - want to find a duplicate) is not as neatly organised as my folder. It's filled with everything. From my list of things to pack for my mini Waikato internship;
To attempted answers at class news quizzes (I never did very well and just ended up making fake answers all the time.);
To stuff I don't even know if it's still English (handwriting skills are important people);
And many pages of drawings and song lyrics that I really enjoy and give me a bit of happiness. (This from Mumm-ra - She's Got You High. Also known as the credits song from my favourite movie (500) Days of Summer.)

Amongst all these pages filled with words and pictures, this first page remains my favourite.
My favourite singer of Switchfoot spoke those words at a concert in Australia five years ago (Yup, I know the video and everything). And these words have encouraged me through life. It's easy and all to sit back and watch the world move around you, but in journalism - forget it. When you go into journalism, you can't get anywhere without working hard for it. Making phone calls, doing research, writing in the long hours, chasing up people that don't want to talk to you. That's the world of the media.

And while I may not be 100 per cent certain where my journalism career takes me, I know I always want to be moving, not standing still.

Just a bit of deep thinking for a very long blog post. ;)
Though I've not actually graduated with my degree (that's not happening for a couple of months) I'm just gonna go out and say/type thank you to everyone who's encouraged me this year, especially my friends at uni who have been on this journo journey with me. Cause boy, did we really need the encouragement. They will all do great things, I know it.

and now, having cleared my folder, I can take all this uni paper stuff out to the recycling. Uni student no more. HOLIDAYS!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

You May Also Like

2 comments

  1. Wait, journalism has stamps set in Comic Sans?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. How did I not notice that before? Man, now every story I've written can never be taken seriously anymore.

      Delete