upon the completion of another qualification…

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some people say graduation is a once-in-a-lifetime affair, and i have had the privilege of doing so twice.

a little more than eighteen months ago, i was a fresh bachelor of arts (media and communications) graduate from the university of melbourne, sitting in her first official masters of journalism class at monash university.

at the time, i don’t think i had any understanding of the intricacies of the media industry. naively, i believed that upon graduation, finding a job as a journalist would be easy peasy – just a matter of browsing various job portals, clicking “apply”, and tadah! i’ll become a full-fledged journo.

i remember sitting in various first tutorials, and our lecturers would ask, “what would you like to do upon the completion of this course?”

at the time, i dreamed of being a magazine editor. perhaps a magazine with both gloss and substance, filled with beautiful layouts as well as intelligent, informed stories about almost everything under the sun – politics, lifestyle, social justice, and more. little did i know that the next eighteen months would feel like life on fast track.

i would come face to face with the realities of the journalism industry; i would question my writing abilities; i would become affected by the story topics i’d chosen.

during my time at monash, i learned more about being a journalist than i ever imagined. i was forced out of my comfort zone, writing hard news stories about fire safety in international student accommodation buildings and the rate of depression amongst international students. but i also got to write about fun stuff – reviewing my favourite vietnamese local, and my final project ended up being about the rising dessert culture here in melbourne. i also had the incredible privilege to become a reporter at meld magazine, where i’ve made plenty of mistakes (:P) and been mentored about my next steps in journalism.

i’ve come to realise that one shouldn’t lose your ideals while in search of a career. sure, print journalism is going down the drain, but if anything, a great journo should be able to adapt. so… i’ve decided to blog more often, about christianity, food, and stuff in general that i love doing.

i’m now also involved in a very exciting entrepreneurial journalism project, and i’ll be sharing more details in the coming months.

today though, i struggled with the reality of being unemployed.

but hey, nobody said it was going to be an easy journey. yes, the cliches say that life is tough and that is to be expected.

today, i felt a whole host of emotions: dejection, depression, discouragement (funny how all the words that come to mind start with “d”).

a friend then told me,

“it’s okay to not be okay. but it’s not okay to let your emotions eat you up.”

so yes. i have two degrees under my belt. growing up, i was led to believe that having a university degree would be the ultimate achievement in life.

i am happy to say that i would not possess two degrees if not for the generous support of my parents, friends, and loved ones. but having a degree is not a comfort. a qualification is but a line on our resumes. it is one part of our lives.

in fact, as cliche as it is, life is just beginning. (:

photo: christine caine

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