life as a student journalist

the last few weeks of a semester is hellish for most – if not all – tertiary students. for me, it’s used for writing, editing, transcribing, and chasing up final interviews (which aren’t always successful).

when introducing myself to prospective interviewees, i usually say i’m a “student journalist”. it’s probably not an original phrase and some have asked why i don’t use the term “journalism student” instead. first, the words “journalism student” are rather hard to pronounce in an australian accent, especially when i’m not really used to enunciating in the aussie accent (yet). and second, from my undergraduate experiences as a media and communications student, a journalism student (to me) sits at a desk thinking up stories and lazily looks for prospective interview subjects just because an assignment is due in ten days.

a student journalist however, is a student of real journalism. your tutors are almost like your editors, approving story ideas and guiding you in the best way to write these stories. you go out to different suburbs interviewing people from all walks of life; you learn about the world beyond you. and then you go through the harsh process of self-editing, of your tutors getting back to you with the things you did wrong, and the things you could have done better. then you dust yourself off and prepare for the next story.

it’s been a hectic two semesters since i started my masters of journalism degree at monash university. at times i’ve felt burnt out, dejected, and just plain tired of churning out words from my faithful macbook. sometimes, life seems to ebb and flow from one story, one interview subject to the other. and at times it passes me by so quickly, i can’t really differentiate what goes on.

but here i am, typing yet another story in the caulfield library, taking some time to breathe and look back and my work. and i realise that this is what i’ll hopefully be doing for the next ten years or so, God-willing. i’ve grown as a writer; as a journalist; as a student. time management is still not one of my strengths, but i’ve become better. and i’ve finally gotten the hang of recording interviews instead of frantically trying to write down every single word my interviewee says.

here’s to the final two weeks of this semester.

and to everyone out there facing the last few weeks of this semester, hang in there! you can do this. (:



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