I kick myself every time I think back to some of the experiences I missed out on in first year – in particular the ones to do with student media. I found myself intimidated at the meetings because I was too scared to talk about my own ideas and the thought of anyone reading my writing almost nauseated me.
I had this idea of writing an article about YouTubers on campus and had it all planned out. (It wasn’t until third year that I finally ended up writing it.)
It wasn’t until the summer holidays, when I was approaching my second year, that I saw an advertisement for open positions on the editing team for QMessenger, the name of the university newspaper at the time. I applied for the Features Editor position because these were the sort of articles that I enjoyed reading and writing about the most. To be honest, I didn’t really think I’d get the position and was so surprised when I did. But I was also pleased. I’d done a lot of writing for my parish magazine back at home and I really relished the chance of writing for something again and seeing my articles in print.
When I got the job, the editor changed the name of the paper to The Print, gave the paper a fresh new look and changed a lot about it. It felt more inclusive now I was on the inside, and though I was still anxious about people I knew reading my work, I was ready to get something into print. I came forward with a lot of ideas and I got to do my first article with the editor. He wanted something on life on the canals, and the people who live on the boats opposite the uni. It was a great experience – we interviewed loads of interesting people, had the photographer take a lot of great pictures, and we even got showed how the canal locks worked. I got pretty carried away with writing the whole article and sent him a 2000 word draft. He came back, simply telling me ‘no’. It was way too long. After a big panic and a lot of collaboration in cutting it down, the article turned out really well and I’m still really proud of it.
After that I wrote a lot more articles for The Print and edited articles that other people sent in too. I then also started looking at doing other things for student media. The university also has a magazine, called CUB and I ended up doing a couple of articles for their final issue of the year. Me and my two house mates also started our own radio show called What’s Cooking on our student radio station, Quest. We run a weekly radio show (Mondays 8pm-9pm if you’re interested) and I also interviewed the musician Robbie Boyd for them. The culmination of all of this was the student media awards where I was nominated for CUB contributor of the year, and The Print’s own awards. I loved it and met so many interesting people as part of it.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I continued doing everything over into my third year too. I reapplied for my position as Features Editor and got it again, I even applied for a position with CUB and although I didn’t get it, I still contributed a number of articles. One of the highlights of this year was interviewing Newton Faulkner (!!!) for Quest Radio too. Despite this, there were opportunities I also missed out on last year. This year I finally attended the Student Media Conference and got to listen to industry professionals and alumni in media jobs talk about how to get into media. It was such an invaluable experience and I learnt so much.
I’ve loved doing so much stuff for student media and only wish I’d started earlier. I’d really recommend just going for it when you get to uni and taking all the opportunities you can get. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities you’ll get!