To The Professor Who Taught Me Journalism Is Cool,
Before going into your class for the first time this semester, I was scared. This class was out of my comfort zone, out of my journalism track, and out of my control. I knew how to write. What I didn’t know was how to work the giant, grade-A quality video cameras. Frankly, they terrified me. But not only did you teach me not to be afraid of this equipment, you taught me how to use it to my advantage, and you taught me that people can do really cool things in journalism.
After listening to all of your stories — like the one where you hiked “safely around” the police line, or where you got up under policemen and a suspect to put his face on video, or where you drove up a mountain during a snowstorm for footage — I’ve found out that journalism is awesome.
Who else gets to do those crazy things? Who else gets to fight corruption and share news like we do?
You’re like the Indiana Jones of journalism, and I feel like a lot of students really look up to you for that. You taught us that we could be adventurers and witnesses of amazing things.
I know that this is your last semester teaching at UCF, and I can’t thank you enough for continuing to put in the hard work that you did, all the way until the end. You did a great job.
To The Professor Who Taught Me What Journalism Means,
Professor, I don’t know if I would still be in this major if it weren’t for you. I took your intro class the first semester I was accepted into the program. I was terrified that I was actually a horrible writer and that I didn’t have what it takes to be a hardworking, shoe-leather reporter. But oh, man, you made me feel even dumber.
I learned that journalism is only 25 percent writing. The other 75 percent is passion, hard work, and feeling the need to tell a story. You taught me that everything I knew about journalism was wrong, and that it’s actually so much better than I thought it was.
You brought in guest speakers, from NPR to the Washington Post to occasional Pulitzer Prize winners, and you had them tell their stories to inspire us and to teach us lessons. You fostered all 150 students in their growth of knowledge. I don’t know how you recognized me in that sea of faces, but every time I saw you outside of class, you smiled and remembered my name. You cared, and your love for your career made us care too. I can’t think of one person who doesn’t hold you in the highest regard because of that. You love your job, and I’m pretty sure every journalism student in Nicholson wants to be like you when we grow up.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for making me proud to be in this career. I can’t wait to continue taking your classes and learning as much as I can from a truly incredible journalist.
To The Professor Who Taught Me There’s Nothing I’d Rather Do,
I don’t even know where to begin. People peg you for a critic, for a curmudgeon, or for a bad professor. Admittedly, when I took my first class with you, I had a lot of difficulty with it as well.
It was my first journalism writing class, and I was already going through some really hard personal things. I was stressed, to say the least, and every time I got a brief or story or assignment back from you, it was bleeding red from every square inch. I was completely convinced that you hated me. I don’t know when that changed or how, but it did.
Over the semester, I saw myself improve over leaps and bounds. I had a lot of AP style problems and problems with reporting. However, you began to encourage me, and there was less red on the rewrites. I went in to meet with you a couple of times that first semester and you were as hard as ever, but also genuinely friendly. We talked about books and my family and what I want to do with journalism. And then after the semester, you gave me some of the highest praise I’d ever received as a writer – you made me realize I could actually do this.
This semester was my second class with you, and I don’t know how I did it. You got even more specific and critical, and once again, my articles bled red. This time around though, I was ready for the challenge. You’ve been a harsh critic, an amazing editor, and a great tutor. Professor, thank you. You’ve helped me to become a better writer, and through these classes with you, I’ve learned that I can’t imagine a better life than one where I’m a journalist.
This is my last class with you in person. Honestly, the thought makes me want to cry. I look up to you in so many ways, and I want to thank you. I have no words other than these:
You showed the class a photo of your father, a journalism professor. You’ve talked about him many times over these past two semesters and how you aspire to be like him, and how you never will be. Yesterday, I saw you cry because you missed him.
I’m here to tell you that you are like him — Professor, you’ve made that difference. You’ve done great work. You might be an incredibly harsh teacher and editor, but it makes a difference. You’ve made that difference for me, and I aspire to be the sort of journalist that you are.
To my journalism professors: Thank you.