Progress report: high school senior to college senior

 

progress-report

I recently had to submit this report for a class assignment. I’m a fan of keeping a record of accomplishments and goals, so I decided to also publish it as a blog post. It entails my journey of learning and experiences relating to my career goal.

Discovering what I wanted to commit the next four years to
Many college students choose their majors because it’s the field their parents want them to pursue. Some choose a generic major while deciding more specifically what they want to study. There are those who have known for a long time what they want to study. For me, I didn’t always know, but an experience I had senior year of high school made it clear. I was part of the school news show, called “3ns”, standing for the No Name News Show. What made it so wonderful was that the entire school—students, faculty and staff alike—looked forward to the Friday morning segments, live shows, and seasonal school-wide lip dubs. It all wouldn’t have been possible without the mastermind behind the show—Mr. Joel Gray, a journalism alum of the University of South Carolina.

3ns
The lovely 2013 3ns crew at our end of the year banquet

There were many mornings brainstorming, putting our brains together to get creative juices flowing. The small group of students who put the show on found their niches; I found, for the first time, that I was comfortable with and enjoyed being in front of a camera. Having grown up as a shy, quiet girl made my time in 3ns one of discovery and cultivation. And that’s what led me to choose broadcast journalism as a career path. I can recall when video cameras were intimidating and video editing was a daunting task. I didn’t know where to begin when it came to finding a story and telling it digitally. But as a college senior, I have gained confidence in those areas and have been able to produce digital content younger me would have been blown away by. I attribute such development to training by my wise, skillful professors and peers who share the same values and challenge one another.

 

Already, I am a semester away from graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. In my early college years, I got used to telling people “I hope to be a reporter, traveling around and capturing the best stories”. This idea was just that—an idea. Now, I have seen what that truly looks like—to be constantly aware of what’s going on in the world, and what it takes to be ready to tell a story in the most effective and visually appealing way possible. My professors say journalism is not a career; it’s a lifestyle. College freshman me probably would have been terrified. But the experiences and opportunities I’ve taken advantage of along the way have allowed me to further my confidence as an upcoming journalist, as discussed below:

Campus Experience

orion-interview
Me interviewing the sheriff at the new university president’s welcoming reception

Spring 2016 I participated in National Student Exchange and spent the semester at California State University in Chico. As a junior, it is ideal to study upper division broadcast courses within the journalism school at South Carolina. However, my advisors made an exception and I made sure to make the most out of my California experience in every way, including journalistically. Before even arriving at the West Coast, I interviewed with the news editor of the The Orion Student Newspaper via skype. I got the position, so as soon as I arrived I was put to work. Writing for a newspaper in a completely new town sometimes had its challenges, but it was also a blessing. I was ahead in knowing what was going on in the community. Remaining on-call every week to report breaking news, live tweeting significant events on campus, including the welcoming reception of the new university president, are ways that writing as a breaking news reporter for the student newspaper made my experience as an exchange student unique, valuable, and exciting.

 

Back at USC, I have participated in CreateAthon for two consecutive years. CreateAthon is a 24-hour event in which journalism and art students create marketing campaigns for nonprofits in need. In both 2015 and 2016, I was part of the “House Team”, which is responsible for social media, messaging and overall branding of the event. Being a broadcast major, I used my video skills to capture the night. The night was long and lacking sleep was tough in the early morning, but I formed friendships and received valuable guidance as a result of the experience.

createathon-2015
2015 CreateAthon House Team discussing our tasks for the next 24 hours

 

Professional Work Experience
                As I progressed through school, I became more qualified to use my broadcast journalism experience to work in the professional world. The summer after studying in California, I switched gears; instead of telling stories through writing I signed up to tell stories through video, only this time at a summer camp in Missouri.

kanakuk
Having fun before hosting on the green screen for our awards video

As video manager assistant at Kanakuk Kamps, I oversaw six videographers while they created weekly camp videos. I was sent to capture certain camp moments to incorporate them into marketing videos. I also spent a lot of time editing in Adobe Premiere. Even though I had experience under my belt, I still went into that job nervous. But my boss was passionate about his work and was quick to guide his staff to be better in video making. In the end, I was able to produce a touching story of a young international camper from Japan.

 

As summer came to a close, I was in a phase of internship applying for Fall 2016. It was not foreseen, but I came across a paid video intern posting on the journalism school website for a small pest control company called Terminix. It wasn’t a

e4ae1ff9-7e65-4adf-8c75-f2f42cdb7152
The faces behind the camera at the corporate office of Terminx – me and my classmate

news station, but I proceeded in the application process with a “why not?” attitude. I went in for an interview as soon as I came back to campus at USC. I got the job soon after and was pleased to find out I would be sharing the position with one of my broadcast journalism classmates. Every week, we produce in-house training videos for various departments at the corporate office. The semester is already nearly over and I am very satisfied with my experience working for Terminix. It has given me a taste of what it is to work in a small company, one that is very family-oriented.

 

 

What’s Next

Within the blink of an eye, I am set to graduate in six months. I can’t deny it is a scary thought. Next spring, I will be in senior semester which means, for the broadcast students, we will dedicate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to putting on the Carolina News. We will experience every position that constitutes a newscast—producing, reporting, anchoring, and news directing among other technical tasks.  While in senior semester, I will be steadily searching and applying for reporting jobs in small, local news stations. My goal is to start as a local reporter and then eventually anchor. My ultimate goal is to be a face on a morning show, where peppy and positive topics are discussed.

It is encouraging to remember how I started off and to see how far I’ve gotten. The videos I’ve produced and can show off in my portfolio are tangible proof that I’ve developed as a student journalist and video producer. I think the key to finding opportunities and taking advantage of them is knowing what you are capable of, remembering that if you did one thing, you can do this next thing without a doubt. For me, it was traveling to California and writing for the student newspaper, flying to Missouri to work at summer camp as a video manager assistant, then getting employed at a small company as video intern. With continuous hard work and dedication, I am excited to see what’s next.

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