I envy anyone who is one hundred per cent certain about what they want to do after leaving college. For myself, it was a scary time. Even if you had a rough idea, deciding on the right course at the right university was a nightmare of uncertainty. Of course, making sure you got the grades made things even worse.
At the time, I knew I wanted to write. “I’ll study English”, I thought. But, the prospect of spending countless hours contending with English Literature reading lists in the library wasn’t for me and neither was years of laborious Language research and analysis.
University of Sheffield it is
Enjoying my time on various school newspapers and a stint of work experience at my local newspaper, I finally realised Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield might the perfect choice for me. Still surviving into my second year, I have no regrets.
I’ve found that the course is a nice mixture of theory and practical. Essays, presentations and a variety of lectures and seminars allow you to explore the more academic side of journalism and really provide you with a well-rounded perspective of the subject.
And then there is the more practical side. You are expected to go out into the surrounding city and practice journalism in the real world. This is an invaluable experience as you learn how to conduct interviews, cover events and operate equipment. These experiences not only develop you as a person but also as a journalist. Various modules, including web-building, broadcast and even court-reporting, help make the course more engaging.
Infamously, shorthand is the big thing of first year. You will be told that it is the essential skill that every journalist must have and you’ll soon realise why. The early shorthand sessions, full of blood-shot eyes and aching wrists, really start to pay off when you begin to go to council meetings and public events to find potential stories. The teaching is phenomenal and you’ll also find, on occasion, people become in awe of it too.
The journalism department
It’s also comforting to know that the staff and academics involved with the course are experienced, both in an educational and professional sense. They offer insightful teaching and provide support throughout your studies.
Sheffield’s journalism department is equipped with excellent facilities and technology. Newsrooms provide an ample supply of computers and a television suite and radio booths allow you to create high quality work with little difficulty. Also, you can always rely on the media store to have an audio recorder or camera – should you need one for an assignment.
I feel both the University of Sheffield and Journalism Studies were the right choice for me. It has not only allowed me to advance my skills as a writer but also forced me out of my comfort zone. As a result, I feel a more confident and productive person for it. This is why I chose my degree.