I have found myself since the moment my final moments in college set in, thinking about what my next steps are. I’ve been going to school for so long, working so hard, that college itself became a sort of career. Now that it is time to actually get the ball rolling on my journalism career, after finally earning that bachelors degree, I find myself sort of clueless.
I have no idea where to start my search. Im a recent college graduate with one internship under my belt. Not much “real world” experience in terms of my field, and at a loss of how to to go about convincing someone to give me a chance. You hear student, you think essays, tests, and research papers. Im sure it’s hard for most employers to believe a recent journalism graduate really knows how to write well enough to earn a full time position at any major publication.
That’s the thing though, I CAN write. I can write very well. I know how to interview, I know how to write informative and attention grabbing ledes. I know how to organize an article clearly and efficiently. I also know how to take photographs to go with my articles and I have the basic experience with photoshop to be able to edit my photos in a way that does not distort them or the story they are representing. I’ve received nothing but A’s and B’s in all my classes, maintained a minimum of a 3.6 GPA pretty much my entire time at CUNY Lehman College as well as making dean’s list on more than one occasion. Upon graduation I also received two certificates from the journalism department at my school in recognition for my hard work within my classes as well as my contributions to The Bronx Journal. I’ve created a WordPress website on underground hip-hop where I posted an Q&A as well as photographs with an underground artist who’s album release party I attended the night before I interviewed him on rap career. I’ve also created my first television news segment on Inside Lehman about healthy eating and vitamin intake where I did all the interviewing and script writing myself with the guidance of a great professor and journalist Tom O’Hanlon.
Yes, I have a lot of school based experience but no “real world” experience and thats my major problem. How does a good student translate that skill set in the professional world, and how can I get an prospective employer to believe enough in me to take a chance on me?
If it’s one thing I’m starting to realize, it’s that although college has taught me the basics of journalism, such as how to write and organize articles, edit those articles, take and edit photographs, college hasn’t really given me many pointers on how to go out there and get the job. My fear is that my only answer would be to continue doing internships, which mostly aren’t paid. I’m 26 years old working at Starbucks. At this point in my life I do not want nor can I really afford to work for free. I just finished college about 20 grand in student debt, living with my boyfriend and his family, and I personally have no savings. I of course, along with my boyfriend, want to move into our own place, and get the foundation together to build a future.
The thought of working a job that has nothing to do with my degree would drive me crazy. I’ve had the idea engraved in my mind since I was young that a college education and a degree were the way to a career and financial stability. No one tells you that the real challenge comes after college when you have to start finding that career.
For now I’ll take it one step at a time, create an online portfolio of my work, update my Monster profile, and continue searching the internet for opportunities. If anyone else out there is having the same challenge, and has any pointers, don’t hesitate to share and I as well will keep updating.