My First Day As A Journalism MA Student

By Selina Sykes (@Selina_Sykes)

So I’ve just finished my first day as a journalism MA student at Kingston University. I had been warned during the interview process that this course would be tough, but boy did it hit us all hard.

The day was so jam-packed and there was so much to take in that I soon forgot how nervous I was about being new to the university and not knowing anybody. Fortunately everyone I’ve met so far is incredibly friendly and easy to talk to (a vital quality for any journo).

The journalism lecturers made it very clear from the word go that this year is going to be hard work – but worth it in the end. The course is made up of an MA and NCTJ qualification (that’s two qualifications at once, just to emphasise – so lots of exams and deadlines!)

There are about 30 pieces of assessed work, with the first due in October. Shorthand exams make up a large bulk – I can tell already that this is going to be the killer, especially in the first few weeks. This year is going to be a case of constantly trying to keep my head above water.

I have always been an organised and proactive person but this course and my other writing commitments will certainly be keeping me on my toes. I need to fit in commuting from London into my schedule as well – though I have already decided this can be an allotted time slot for extra shorthand practice and reading news.

I have bought a ridiculously big bag to carry my life around with me, so I am prepared. I am also moving house this weekend, which has has made things rather chaotic. Got to love good timing!

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From jargon guides to exam timetables – time to get to grips with the reading material!

It was great to have a few opportunities during the day to have a chat with lecturers and hear where they have worked. There were obviously a lot of impressive CVs in the building and being taught by people in the field with contacts is amazing opportunity. During lunch I found out that one of the lecturers who specialises in sport is a Chelsea fan and has interviewed Frank Lampard – very jealous!

We then had another session with the journalism and magazine students during which we found out what exactly we had signed ourselves up for. We started with a news quiz – I don’t like to brag but I was quite chuffed to have got the top score with 18/20! Next we were loaded with style guides, exam dates, work placement handbooks and newsroom jargon booklets.

We were then given a careers talk and told that we needed to arrange a minimum ten-day placement, ideally during the Christmas holidays, for our NCTJ portfolios. I am so far very impressed by the amount of career support that is available for journalism students and I can already see why the course has such a high employment rate – always a nice thing to hear when you’ve invested a lot of money into further study.

After a long day we ended with a much deserved drink at the faculty welcome reception. Although I am still pretty overwhelmed by the amount of information I’ve taken in and the course’s sheer intensity, I am ready to get stuck in. Roll on Monday!

Have you just started a journalism course? Want to write about your experience? Share your views with us on Twitter @JournoGrads or drop us an email!

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