Why journalism experience is important no matter what career path you choose

By Darian Eswine
Junior at Franklin College, webmaster for IHSPA

Most everyone has that moment when they question whether or not they are doing what they actually need to be doing.

For me, that moment came about halfway through my sophomore year in college.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was five and first it was creative writing–then I entered high school, found journalism, and decided I wanted to be that kind of writer specifically. I loved talking to people (when I was in control of the questions, mind you), I loved the research that went behind some of the stories, and I loved the fact that you had the opportunity to share important subjects with other people.

So, I dove in all four years in high school on my high school staff, managed to luckily receive a journalism scholarship to Franklin College, and started studying News Editorial Journalism. I also joined The Franklin staff so I was still getting staff experience.

The thing is–something felt off to me and it took me a long time to come to terms with that–about a semester, actually. When I’d said “I’m going to do this” for roughly six years of my life, and everyone around me thought I was going to do it, and I thought I was going to do it, it was frustrating and upsetting to come to the realization that I didn’t want to do it anymore.

So I decided to go down a different path and, at the moment, I’m pursuing opportunities in nonprofit management.

First of all, it’s ok if you decide to switch paths, for all of the indecisive people out there or just people who’ve had a change of heart.

My decision wasn’t based on waffling back and forth. I’d worked toward journalism for several years. My decision was based on the fact that I was more passionate and more excited in another area of my life, and I strongly believe in pursuing what excites you and fulfills you.

A job is a job, yes, but it’s something people do every day for a long chunk of their lives and I think it should be something enjoyable and something you feel you can make a difference in.

But, I wouldn’t change my journalism experience for anything. I don’t wish that I would have realized what I wanted to do sooner and gone back and had different experiences because I loved the ones I had and continue to have with journalism.

I’m still studying journalism along with my other major, English, but I’m focusing more of my professional opportunities on nonprofits.

The journalism skills that I have and continue to gain, however, are going to help me in whatever career I pursue.

Learning how to talk to people and communicate effectively is essential in absolutely any career field. Whether it’s a boss, a co-worker, or whoever, you’re going to have to talk to someone at some point.

Being able to ask purposeful questions is a skill because if it’s a new job or, in my case, if I need to plan an event and figure out how much it will cost or the best options for sponsors or whatever, I’m going to need to be able to ask good questions that provide the information I need.

The staff experience in and of itself provides a huge amount of experience in leadership, working with a team, brainstorming, creativity, and time management.

All of these skills are 100% transferable to any career field you should choose.

So ultimately…

1) Pursue your passion, you’ll have the most drive in that area and it’s ok if it turns out to not be the thing you think it is. If that’s journalism, then go for it. If it’s something else, go for that.

2) Know that whatever career you may choose, your journalism skills and experience in high school and/or in college are going to place you one step ahead of a lot of other job seekers.

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