Today I attended my last two School of Journalism classes for my undergraduate degree. This evening is so bittersweet. On one hand, I’m just that much closer to being a college graduate. But on the other hand, I’m seriously depressed by the thought of being DONE.
I have had so many amazing experiences while completing my undergraduate degree. Interning at a full service public relations agency, helping with special events, and serving as a PR and Media Director for a real PR campaign.
These are just a few, as I’ve had more positive experiences than I have time to list. As I sit here trying to think of negative ones, I’m not able to come up with any. I have truly enjoyed my time at West Virginia University, and I owe most of that to the SOJ.
I came to WVU as a Broadcast News and International Studies major hoping to one day work as a foreign correspondent for CNN. After two years I decided that wasn’t the path for me. I had no idea what I really wanted to do, but I knew I wanted some type of journalism degree. I love news style writing, but I couldn’t deny the fact that the newspaper track was going to be coming to an end in the near future. I decided to switch to Public Relations instead, and a new minor that was just taking off, Leadership Studies. I couldn’t have made a better decision with either.
So many people are confused when I tell them I am a leadership studies minor. They think it is pointless or they don’t understand what I could possibly be learning. But I have learned so much since declaring the minor. How to speak in front of people, how to speak WITH people, how to lead, and most importantly, when to step down and be a follower. It has taught me so much about group work and I have already seen the theories that I have studied playing out in real life situations. I would recommend this minor to any student, no matter what their major.
Along with the skills, job opportunities, and networking that I have been exposed to as a result of the leadership studies program, I have made so many amazing friends, both classmates and professors.
And speaking of professors, I’m not going to name names, because they know who they are, but I would not be the person I am today without their guidance and support. Over the past two semesters especially, I have gained so much confidence in my skill set, and myself as a person. And I cannot thank a few select professors enough for these gifts.
Just this afternoon, a professor outside of the J-school asked me what I did, and after telling her I was a senior just weeks away from a degree in public relations, she asked me if I had a “back-up plan.” I was so shocked by this comment that I wasn’t sure how to respond at first. A back-up plan?
For the past two semesters I have spend most of my time surrounded by fellow journalists and soon to be journalists. I forget that many “outsiders” view our career path as risky and irresponsible. But I don’t care what these people say. I am on the path to doing something that I truly love, and I believe that being happy can trump what is sometimes seen as being successful. I hope that by doing what makes me happy, I will be helping others have a better life as well. So to the naysayers, say what you want. But I know that I, as long as my fellow classmates who will be graduating in 2012, have big dreams and all of the skills to make those dreams a reality. I can’t wait to see where we all are ten years from now. Who knows where that will be. All I know is that with the skills we have learned at the J-school, as well as the friendships and connections we have made, how could we NOT be successful?