Eleven years in seems like the perfect time to shake things up, right? Probably not for many people, but for me it was the ABSOLUTE perfect time to go after something that I’ve been wanting for some time now. For those of you who haven’t read my previous blogs, I’m in my first semester of grad school.
This all started back in January. I remember being on Twitter and seeing an advertisement for grad school at Syracuse.
For years I have gone back-and-forth about going to grad school. That particular night it hit me that I should stop thinking about it and actually do it.
I was going through a particularly difficult time in my personal life, that was weighing heavy on my professional life.
I was REALLY needing a change.
I logged onto the website that night and started the application. I officially submitted it by the next week — fast forward a couple of months later and I was in there. I received an email on a Friday welcoming me to Syracuse and it was really a proud moment, for a couple of reasons.
Newhouse is one of the top journalism programs around, so what better place to pursue my graduate degree. I have friends and former colleagues who graduated from there and the love they have for their school is contagious. I remember sitting in the newsroom watching as one of my anchors watched his team ball. Hands down my favorite memory — watching this anchor run around the newsroom with excitement after a big Syracuse win. Now, I love my undergraduate university (GO Rams).. but I don’t think I’ve ever been that excited about any win. If we’re being honest, that’s really probably more due to the fact that I’m not a big sports fan to begin with.
The second reason is very personal for me. For years I’ve wanted the opportunity to teach on the university level. Don’t get me wrong, I very much still want to have a role in someone’s newsroom. I just want to also share some of that knowledge with students looking to become future journalists.
In my last few years of being a news manager, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people straight off the graduation stage. It’s great seeing the excitement in a recent grads face when they get the offer to do what they’ve always wanted. It’s heartbreaking to watch them struggle and question their decision to get into this industry. A lot of times it boils down to unrealistic expectations of what the business will be like. I know there are some GREAT professors out there. I know a lot are people who were once in the business. The problem though, this business is constantly changing. We’re not covering news the way your grandparents are used to watching it. Appointment television no longer exists. Digital responsibilities for those in the field have become 50% of the job if not greater.
Going in I think we all think we’re going to change the world instantly. We later learn that it’s not as easy as we think. The first year is a lot of work. There’s a lot of on the job learning. I mean seriously, you spend your first six months to a year trying to figure it all out. Eventually you get the hang of it and things are a little easier– but it’s a grind that never stops. While many of us have made it on the other side, there are some who give up before they give a career in journalism a real chance. I want to be someone who gets ahead of that. I want to be the person who brings the voice of realism into the classroom. I LOVE seeing people succeed. One of the small joys of being a news director, watching someone grow. Watching people push themselves to be better. Seeing someone have a hard Monday, but come back on Tuesday ready to win the day.
Now—in all my excitement with grad school, it hasn’t been without its challenges. This has all been an adjustment for me, especially my storytelling class. It’s pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and shoot and edit. Through my frustration with my lack of skill in both– I’m constantly looking at the big picture. What I’m doing now will put me on track to help future journalists. With the current state of our country, they’re going to need all the help they can get!