Yesterday, I went to see my English careers advisor at university about doing a Masters/other course in journalism, and what a refreshing experience it was. Usually, when talking about journalism, people fall into a distinct set of categories. Sometimes, people simply declare ‘journalism isn’t what it used to be/has gone to the dogs/journalists are pigs’, or any other generically negative view on the media. Others are already too surprised that English students have career paths other than teaching to even utter anything remotely decipherable. And some simply retort that ‘journalism is very hard to get into you know’. I want to scream, “YES I DO KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW”, but I tend to keep that internalised. Fortunately, Suzanne, the careers adviser was a whole different kettle of fish.
What she said specifically isn’t particularly relevant for the blog, but needless to say, she gave me a lot of advice on the application process and what to look for. The main thing that made the meeting refreshing was a genuine concern and interest in me as a person. I remember going to a careers adviser as I was doing my G.C.S.E.s, very shaky on what I wanted to do. She asked me what I was interested in, so I reeled back some generic answers: music, writing, art. I distinctly remember the enlightening moment that she told me I could be a popular/classical musician, because I could play the piano and sing, I could be a novelist, because I’d told her I enjoyed putting pen to paper, or I could be an artist, because I liked to draw. But, she cautiously added, they were all very competitive so maybe I should think of something else more realistic.
My G.C.S.E. experience somewhat put me off careers advisors, and pushed me into the bewildering realm of Google instead. But, as helpful as things like forums can be, they are always coloured by a single person’s views, and people generally only voice their opinions on a course or career when it is a negative one. So, to cut a long story short, Thursday was my first successful careers appointment in five years (God, I’m old). And though she didn’t delude me that getting a job or even a place on a course would be easy, I left to continue my revision for summer exams literally beaming, and quietly confident that my life was starting to take the path I wanted it to.