So a little bit about myself: I’m about to be a college senior at the University of Florida. I’m a journalism major, and I currently have one job as a student affairs coordinator, and two internships — one is at a TV station and the other is, well, here.
Yeah, I know it sounds like a lot but it’s not over the summer. I organized my schedule to fit them all in. Anyway, I’m not telling you all this to brag; in fact, it’s the complete opposite. I want to tell you all — whether you’re in college, about to be, or have already graduated — that it’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to start over and try something different.
I wanted to tell you how I’ve changed my mind, even though I’m still in college, and the experience that led me there.
In college, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with all of the different things you can do. Kind of like what my co-worker Taylor mentioned yesterday in his blog post about choosing a major. I definitely was. It’s good to narrow down your choices and gain experiences in a field you’re potentially interested in.
That’s how I landed two different internships this past year. I was interested in two fields, one more than the other, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try both. I thought I was going to be in news, and that publishing was something I’d just give a shot at. But that didn’t turn out to be the case for me this summer.
If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s to not be disappointed if you don’t like the field you thought you could make a career out of. And don’t be afraid to try something different. I thought news was an industry I always wanted to be a part of, but after this past year, I learned it wasn’t for me.
At first, I felt like news had to be what I did after graduation. I felt like if I didn’t pursue a career in reporting and breaking news, I would’ve wasted my time in college. I’ve had a lot of experience with reporting, writing, editing and telling stories that would fit the news industry, but it’s different once you go out in the “real world.”
I gained most of my news experience at an independent newspaper in my college town and through hands-on classes. I loved what I did at my school newspaper. I liked the different content we would write and the different sources we would come in contact with. It made me fall in love with telling stories and talking to people, hence my internship at a TV station.
But my internship at the station was completely different from what I was used to. It’s breaking news, like the Pulse Nightclub Shooting breaking news (yes, I was there for that). And it’s a great experience to be a part of. Watching the newsroom that week was an experience I’ll never forget. (Oh, and my TV internship is in Orlando.) I love watching professional reporters and producers tell these stories all in their own, unique way. But breaking news is fast, and sometimes, it’s not always happy.
Now, I know news isn’t known for being happy content. But I didn’t like being the one delivering the bad news to the community, even though I love being that bridge for people. I was so upset when I figured out I dreaded it that I didn’t know what I was going to do. But that’s when I remembered I had another internship that I actually really, really enjoy.
Even though publishing and editing isn’t exactly the journalism I learned in school, it’s still pretty similar. All of the basic rules still apply — grammar, spelling, punctuation, and editing; storytelling and creative-thinking skills are all still required for this profession just like journalism and news.
I feel better now that I figured that out. But, I also figured out that I still don’t know what I want to do, exactly. But I do have a better sense of direction of where I want to go. The best thing is to be open to new things and new possibilities. Be able to step out of your comfort zone. For example, right now I’m revising an entire book for Atlantic Publishing. That means I get to rewrite the book on my own. I never would’ve thought my journalism degree would lead me to this opportunity, but it has.
My point: Don’t feel stuck in a career that you don’t like. And seriously, I’ve said it about 100 times, but try new things. Try something you’re interested in. Don’t pursue a career just for the financial benefits unless you really like it. In the end, you’ll be much happier with your choice. And if you’re in college or about to start, then you’ll have a clear mind like I do now. I know I want to pursue a career in books or editing after I graduate, I’m just not sure where or what position. But I wouldn’t have figured out the first bit if I didn’t have the TV internship this summer.
The experience I’ve gotten at the station is phenomenal, and the people I have met are some of the best in the business in my opinion, which made my decision even harder. But I did, and I’m more than content with the path I’m on at the moment.
But, hey, you never know. I could change my mind — again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.