If I could find the time
By Michael Corcoran
I am probably biting off more than I can chew, but I suppose most journalists do.
The ones I know at college, well many of them anyway, seem perpetually busy and consumed with multiple tasks.
Some spend absurd hours in the office of the college newspaper. I am talking absurd. They should just put beds in there, and move in for the semester.
And of course, we are told that to make it in journalism, having a writing internship is a very important "measuring stick" for future employment. I have been told by some that it is, essentially, a requirement.
So that entails excuciating hours of writing up cover letters, bothering teachers to write flattering letters, contests, scholarships, essays, arranging clips, requesting transcripts and so on.
We are also told that we need clips, and that we should aim to be published. So journalism students freelance. Some of the places will ask you to use serial commas as a matter of house style. Other will require you not to, and get upset when you do.
See thats a lot of stuff to do, and remember.
Oh wait, I forgot. We still have class!
In the midst of all this we have to find time to write 20 page papers, give speeches, and practive complex mathamatical equations (though at Emerson,the math requirement is easily waived, as it should be)
Or call the State House, and bother the communications director of some State rep. for a public affairs reporting class. More stories!
And dont forget to read newspapers, magazines and books along the way. And attend academic forums on leadership or ethics -- maybe even join a club. And fill out forms for graduation, registration, financial aid, books, WebCT, and so on.
As a result of all this some things get neglected. Activites like bloging, exercize, sleeping, watching infomercials, going out, having a social life, video games, playing a musical intrument and others are just luxurys journalism students cannot often afford.
Sadly, classes get neglected. A deadline for a paper that goes to print in a few days is far more pressing than a homework assignment, because the consequences are more severe if you miss a deadline for a published paper going to print.
And it can be trying to have to call the ACLU for a story for a class, when you already called them earlier for a story for the school paper, or a professional paper.
"Hi, its me again," says the student journalist. "Now which paper was this for again?" askes some communications director.
"I dont even know anymore," says the student.
But perhaps this is how it should be . In Fear and Loathing on the Campaing Trail 72 Hunter S. Thomposon wrote of how he seemed to be perpetually stressed, behind and struggling to make deadline to the very minute on the clock.
On the other hand, longform writing affords you the oppurtunity to fine tune, and start over from scratch, Tim O'brein writes 365 days a years. Throwing out thousands of pages, spending years to make his book as close as possible to be perfect.
In anycase, somehow we manage. Plus, and the end of our education we get to make a cool $25,000 a year!
And despite the stress and the ever-looming deadline, I really would not change a thing.
After all, it could be worse. I could be doing something else.
© Michael Corcoran