It continues to amaze me how much people continuously underestimate a student or graduate with a journalism major, especially now that I am actively pursuing a degree in the field. As I was nearing the end of high school, I could have chosen to do anything that I wanted. My grades were above average, I was very involved in my school as well as in my community, and I had nine college acceptances to prove that. My heart, my passion and my drive had been pointing me to journalism since I was eight years old. I have always had a love of writing and I definitely have been focused on turning that love into a career since I knew that it was something I could really do for a living. I was by no means looking for an "easy degree". In fact, I think that the path I have chosen is anything but easy.
I have received so much criticism over my choice in a field of study. The question I am continuously asked by many acquaintances of my parents is "So, what are you even going to do with that?" To which I reply, "I really want to be a news anchor or write for a newspaper or magazine column." I typically get a pretty rude response to my passionate answer to their question, somewhere along the lines of "Oh, I figured a smart girl like you would become a nurse." I really would just like to remind them that if I had gone into the medical field, I would have already flunked out of college. I am by no means a math or science genius, and I know that. Not every smart person goes to medical school, and every degree takes different types of work and effort.
Journalism requires a study of many different things. Most people think that it's just a lot of writing. I mean, loving writing is normally a good place to start considering it is the foundation, but it really is so much more. A student majoring in journalism will learn a lot of history, a lot of statistics and even a little bit of psychology and law. So, yes, we write a lot, but we also need to know every inch of every law ever put into effect about what we can and can't write. We need to know about what's going on in the minds of our subjects and people we interview, and we need to know about the history of journalism.
One of my favorite quotes about this completely epic career path is "Journalism is the first rough draft of history." This pretty much says it all. Without early journalism, we would literally have no record of anything that happened in the past. Think about the first place you learn about events in the world around you, is it a history text book? No, it's the news. Without journalism, those history text books would never be written, there would be no facts to publish. Without journalism, no one on earth would know what was going on around them. Professionals in this field have to have a passion for what they do because there is no quality in any content without a huge level of passion behind it.
So, no, I didn't choose to study journalism because I couldn't get into medical school. I chose journalism because I want to discover things and tell the world about them. I want to be the person who reports intense murder cases or covers presidential campaign speeches, right there in the action with all of the people. My major is no easier than any other major, so get over yourself. This field has opened my eyes to so much about the world around me, and has shown me that a thousand words really are better than a picture. Being a journalist takes extreme nerve and determination, and the realization that your very name and career are at risk with every word that you publish or even speak. Degrading someone's choice in degree is seriously sad, especially when you're just plain uneducated about the many, many things that they can do with that degree.