As of earlier this month, I’m officially a journalism school graduate!
Being in Carleton journalism, I’ve always noticed the lack of diversity in terms of people of colour in the program. Honestly, in my graduating year, I can count less than 20. I’m posting this pretty late, but I had the opportunity to talk about diversity as a j-school student in this excellent audio documentary by my friend Arvin, another fellow 2018 j-school graduate and person of colour. He’s now rocking it as an associate editor for the Xtra, a Canadian queer news source. Check it out!
“The first day of school is always somewhat nerve-wracking, but stepping into an auditorium filled with 189 fellow hopeful, aspiring journalists is an especially intimidating experience—particularly with the fact that about half of the present company, myself included, may not make it to the second year.”
— Sept. 4, 2014 blog post assignment for JOUR1000: Foundations of Journalism
Fast forward to April 11, 2018, where, in true IDGAF fourth-year journalism student fashion, I turned in my final j-school class assignment about half an hour before the deadline closed. In anticlimactic 21st-century classroom style, I turned it in via email from the comfort of my bed at home.
And that was it. Four years of undergraduate journalism school officially finished after one hastily written email.
In four years, I’ve interviewed academics, nonprofit professionals, government wonks, cartoonists, barbers, aspiring actors, and many different people in between. In four years, I’ve chased after stories about protests, fires, university policies, mental health, Indigenous communities, and so many more topics.
I’m grateful for the gruff, lovably crass journo professors who passed on their knowledge and passion of the trade, who forged the path before us in legacy media.
I have so much appreciation for my own classmates, with whom I’ve weathered late nights in editing suites, felt the pressure of down-to-the-minute deadlines and suffered elusive sources. I’m in awe of the classmates have gone on to take leaps and bounds in their own career paths by breaking into the sports media world while in school, publishing in nationally acclaimed media outlets, and even starting up their very own publications and video collectives.
I’ve heard journalism can get ridiculously cutthroat, but my experience at Carleton has definitely not been like that. The camaraderie generated by newsroom stress—from swapping stories for last-minute proofreading to helping each other with finding sources—was definitely a special bonding experience, one that can only be really found from going through common struggles.
And alongside my j-school peers, I’ve learned so much about how big our world can be.
There’s one rap lyric that really summarizes how breathtakingly big this world feels to me after bearing witness to so many stories: “How impossibly big it be, this symmetry / This brutality, and beauty and synergy” (Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 3, by Watsky).
If there’s one major thing I’m taking away from j-school above anything else, it’s the age-old adage from Michelangelo that I first heard from my old high school English teacher: “I am still learning.”
The business of journalism is the business of learning—learning from our colleagues, learning from the people and places we encounter, and helping those around us learn more too.
Journalism has taught me that you can never stop learning about this big world—there’s just so many people, places, and stories to learn from.
And now, entering the world of work—I am so excited to learn even more.