Writing is my thing. I might not be good at it, but I’ve always done it. I started keeping a journal in first grade and things just sort of escalated. Before I knew it, I was writing for my high school newspaper, and then last week, I found myself being thrown head-first into editing at my college newspaper.
But if you’re like me and are hoping to be the next Katie Couric before you graduate or very soon after, don’t get your hopes up.
Now I’m kicking myself for taking on this much responsibility. I had to get up early on a Saturday for this gig! I had to sacrifice my Sunday afternoon!
But I shouldn’t complain; I love my job. I ultimately want to write for a living, but I don’t know where exactly that will take me, and that’s scary. It’s like trying to run with your pants around your ankles.
I’ve interned at two newspapers and loved my time at both, but what now? I’ll be editor for a semester or two, then bounce around to another section. I’ve done newspaper design in the past (which is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of journalism), and I plan on being able to find work writing something in the future.
I have options. I could do freelance work, write for a magazine, a newspaper or fabricate copy for travel brochures (Nebraska: there’s corn!). Granted, I’ll probably have to waitress on the side and be a drug mule just to pay rent, but at least I’ll be writing.
While working as an editor isn’t as glamorous as I always thought it would be, you can take whatever bits of wisdom I learn on my journey and apply them to your life as you see fit. I always thought I’d be chasing down sources in a Fedora in college and drinking two inches of scotch out of a crystal glass while giant reams of paper spun behind me on layout night.
Those of you looking at a career in journalism should know that it’s a much slower, duller “Office Space” existence, but when things are good, they’re great. I once covered a story about a bear that wandered through an elementary school playground before being cornered and tazed in a nearby apartment complex, but also know that last Sunday, I spent the majority of the day editing stories in a silent office.
Let my experiences juggling time at the newspaper, class and paying rent be your crash course in life as a journalist. Expect turbulence.