My first semester of a journalism degree

I love being a journalism student, I definitely made the right choice.

Many people criticise journalism degrees –  somehow it baffles me as a degree is a degree, surely? I admit some journalism degrees aren’t as good as others, but being a journalism student here at Sheffield Uni instantly puts you on top. The skills we’ve signed up to learn are unreal. It’s the end of my first semester, and I’ve learned so much already, I also feel that I’ve developed as a person, not forgetting that my writing skills are already so much better than they were before I became a student here. 

What is the degree?

So many people get confused with journalism degrees. Some lean more towards the broadcast side of the career, others have specialist pathways such as magazine, sport etc. Other universities also combine the subject with ones which are seen as ‘similar’, such as Creative Writing, Media, English and International Relations.

Here at Sheffield, the degree is BA (Hons) Journalism Studies. I was quite undecided back in the summer if I had made the right decision. But as soon as I arrived here in Sheffield and started the course, I was certain that I had made the right choice. It’s the best course ever (in my eyes). First year isn’t very practical, as we have to learn all the skills to be allowed out there into the big wide world. There’s no point letting us out on the streets of Sheffield in week 2 of first semester – I wouldn’t know how to approach anyone, how to write a good copy for a newspaper or how to take quick and accurate notes. Good ole’ shorthand!

Why Sheffield?

I remember back in 2013 when my head of Sixth Form was telling our year group to start deciding on what we wanted to study at university, and where we were thinking of applying to. I decided to go a little crazy with the ordering of prospectus’ in the Easter holidays. Narrowing down to five universities out of over 40 prospectuses was perhaps the most stressful thing ever. When the poor postman was constantly posting heavy books through the letterbox, my one from Sheffield came through. Even before I had opened it, I had fallen in love with the university. It was something about that bright orange cover and the cute letters that came through.

The course itself stood out, I was determined that I wanted to come to Sheffield in 2014 to study Journalism. Little did I know that I would actually get in. Here I am!

I worked super hard in A-levels to get here, but I also wanted a little head start into what I would be doing after I graduate. So I signed up to a few online magazines, and went on work experience at my local newsroom. It was fun, but I knew this work experience was just the easy part of Journalism, because I had few skills at this point.

Goodbye first semester, hello second!

A few months in, and so far I’m having the time of my life. I have amazing flatmates, but I keep myself to myself in the course, which is a little downside as I don’t feel that I’m living the whole uni life. Hopefully that’ll change come second semester. I couldn’t cook when I arrived in September and it’s fair to say that I still can’t –  I haven’t actually tried to push the boat out from my frozen chips and anything else in a packet that could supplement them.

I’m slowly sorting out my spending problems. I don’t think my antics of getting excited over a student loan and blowing the remains of it in Week 1 was a good move there.

I’ve become more independent – I never really developed home-sickness, more like dog-sickness! Even now, a few days before I head home for Christmas, I’m still having the occasional sob over not seeing my dog. I haven’t had any washing problems, (touch wood!) and I can manage time (perhaps not my alarm though, I’ve overslept so much, damn you snooze button!)

It has been a weird semester, it’s gone super quick – enjoy the Christmas break and good luck for any exams you have!

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