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A Day in the Life of a Journalism Student

Hollie Scorer Study

Ever wondered what the life of a Northumbria journo student looks like? My personal and honest breakdown of a day in my incredibly busy life should help answer any questions you may have regarding all things media, uni, studies and social!

First things First: Why Journalism and Why Northumbria?
We all remember the daunting months back in High School that compelled us to make potentially one of the biggest decisions of our lives. So many questions to ask yourself- What do I want to do for the rest of my life? Am I making the right decision? Which university is best for me? Luckily in my case, I knew that my career had to be writing-orientated. I've always had a fascination with the media and the precedence it holds. It’s an all-powerful entity - it informs, entertains and raises vital questions, I couldn't miss the chance to be a part of it all. 

Journalistic writing has always been a strength of mine, from my younger years –entering Jaqueline Wilson competitions (and winning the chance to meet her-still star-struck to this very day) to having work published in the Chronicle, developing my blog and interning for Luxe Magazine this year all of which I couldn't enjoy more! As you'll no doubt come to realise, I love expressing my personality through writing and having a real voice that readers can relate to.

Northumbria immediately stood out to me. Although I was open to the idea of moving further afield, my decision to remain in my home City was set in stone as soon as I'd left Northumbria campus on the open day. The university & all its facilities welcome you with open arms plus amazing tutors with masses of industry knowledge and experience.

Rise And ShineRise and shine:
First port of call is of course coffee, and lots of it. As the day of a student journalist is typically full of busy, caffeinating myself is vital in order to stay alert and on target from as soon as I wake up. I also like to squeeze in some light reading of some of my favourites (Elle, Vogue) with breakfast as a reminder of the crucial goal here- to become a fashion journalist and why that means so much.

ElleThen of course comes the unfortunate essentials like showering, spending half an hour drying the mane that refuses to dry and making myself presentable for the day ahead- makeup application may or may not be involved depending on the level of sleep deprivation.  

As an aspiring journalist, the day always revolves around thorough planning. Keeping on top of work, appointments and even social time would not be achieved without my faithful Filofax, which I was coaxed into buying by my concerned course-mate. A blessing in disguise it may seem though, as looking back I'm not sure how I ever survived without it. I like to devise a checklist for the day before I set off, in order to avoid the deathly panic of forgetting anything major!

Breathe a sigh of relief- give yourself a firm pat on the back- you've made it to your 9AM lecture:
Although the early mornings seem like a modern torture-form, it all becomes worth it once I've made it to campus. Firstly, I always seem to forget that we-re all in the same boat as students, we all struggle to get up and to juggle the many plates we're spinning in order to get our degree's and ultimately our careers. Northumbria as a university has been integral to me succeeding thus far and persevering through the struggles I've encountered. 

The university itself is ever-evolving and improving. Facilities have been upgraded all over campus, including the new and improved library basement (I live here) that is now decked-out with Apple macs, new independent work booths and vending machines for the hungry studier. 

Walking around you're greeted by many a friendly student and there's always tonnes going on around the SU and in the centre of campus, making the atmosphere vibrant and buzzy-exactly how a student campus should be.Hands

I remember being so timid once upon a time in first year and facing the classic struggles of finding my lecture halls and worrying about making friends. However, everything seemed to fall into place pretty quickly. There's always someone available to help you. Getting chatting with people initially is made ten times easier, especially with course-mates as many of you share a common goal and common interests. Lecturers always keep lively conversations and discussions going in seminars too which also acts as a little ice-breaker. There's a definite sense of unity and acceptance among students which is always lovely to see.

It’s extremely rare that there's a dull moment on my course. Lectures are thought provoking, engaging and sometimes intense. We deal with all aspects of journalism on various media platforms from writing for publication, to broadcasting to media law, all of which prepare us for the demanding and adventurous career ahead.

Lectures, projects, busy busy busy:
Picturing sitting in a lecture hall staring blankly at a PowerPoint all day? Then think again. Think venturing outside of your comfort zone, experiencing new things 24/7 so you can report on it in an article or review. Think days out to magistrates’ court to learn the constitutional laws of journalism and the press.  Think- running around the great outdoors in all weather conditions gathering interviews, footage and news content that become your full responsibility. Think editing your footage to produce news packages, vox-pops and sound-bites that you may have to present live in the TV studio or on air in the radio studio. You'll receive full technical training for all of the equipment ranging from editing software, to camera's and zooms to your best friend for the next three years- The illustrious Tascam. 

TascamThe Tascam (or Dictaphone to journo novices) you'll find will be attached to you throughout the entirety of your course. This is a tool, imperative to any journalist that allows you to record interviews and voiceovers- be aware, programme it correctly or it will laugh in your face and your work. Access to Tascam’s and any other professional equipment we may need is available all day through the universities company 'Siso', which makes for a strong journalism game and exciting day. 

Take a break:
When I'm well and truly due a break from the madness, my hideout of choice is always the universities 'café central'. Recently refurbished and enveloped in a charming laid-back atmosphere, this caffeine haven is always my go-to. What's not to love about an on-campus Starbucks and tempting range of food? Or just coffee and food in general?

StarbucksAlthough it contradicts my plans of a health-kick I refuse to give up coffee. Particularly when Café Central offers themed favourites such as the Pumpkin spiced and ginger-bread latte's, my inner glutton is never denied.

Snug sofa's as well as relaxed background music compliment my down time beautifully. However, as a journalism student your schedule is going to be completely JAM PACKED at all times, there'll always be something to do. The open space and peace and quiet in the café means I can be the girl that sits in the corner of the café content to get on with work -even on a busy day.

Project planning and extra training:
I'm the type that likes to prepare x10. I like to get in as much training as possible, particularly technical training in order to get ahead of the game and be my very best. If you're a journalist, you also have access to both radio and TV studio's out of lecture hours. 

Speaking on camera is a struggle for me lately, although it sounds ridiculous to say that speaking yes SPEAKING is difficult, try it in front of a camera reading from an autocue, it's no walk in the park. Access to the TV studio means I can work on improving this in my own time, so that I reach Trevor McDonald level in no time.

As a third year journalist or not your dissertation will trump everything in terms of importance. As us journo's are given the opportunity of a practical dissertation project, I chose to create a fashion magazine (shock horror I know). So far this has taken extensive planning, research and phone calls to fashion contacts from the network I've developed over the years such as photographers and makeup artists, so yup dissertation planning always takes a huge chunk of my day! 

Let your hair down:
Northumbria's SU truly is a blessing. Cheap as chips, every drink you could imagine, comfort food for the stressy days and music and live sport, sign me up!

I think a sit down, rum and coke and mandatory portion of sweet potato fries at the SU' has been given a permanent spot in mine and my friends daily schedules as of first year!

There's always so much going on and there's never a glum face in sight. Whether I'm with the Journalism lot or my former flat-mates the SU always beckons for a catch-up, a quiet drink or stress-busting night out. The staff are brilliant and the atmosphere welcomes you wilfully. 

NightSwitch off:
It's a certainty that as a Northumbria journalism student you're going to feel exhausted from the excitement and non-stop action throughout the day. For me personally, it’s a 10-minute operation of quick shower, fluffy pyjamas on, makeup off, hair up and start cooking.

Living away from home for a while really does enlighten you to your independent culinary skills. For what may have begun as a shambolic attempt at cooking tea, is now a pretty impressive effort if I do say so myself.

Once tea is out of the way, it’s time for an episode of the legend himself and personal inspiration of mine 'Louis Theroux'. Comic relief meets informative genius, what's not to love.

It's a certainty that the life of a Northumbria student journalist is going to be hard-work, but the overriding perk, and the thing that gets me up each morning is that It's never boring, always active, lively and thoroughly rewarding for students.


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