Journalism is an incredible industry to work in, but it certainly isn't for everybody. You have to have tough skin, take every bit of criticism to the heart and accept every bit of rejection as an opportunity to improve your skills. Before starting a career in writing, consider these things before taking that first step into the industry.
1. You need to start looking for internships during your freshman year.
I know what you're thinking, 'how the hell am I supposed to land an internship when I have no prior experience?'. Well, I'll let you in on a little secret: The point of an internship is to gain the experience you don't already have! These companies want fresh, new faces to join their company culture. If you do not put yourself out there from the start, you will have a difficult time finding a job after college.
2. Journalism is cutthroat.
Do not assume that sending your résumé to 100 companies will guarantee you an interview or an internship. Recruiters are looking for very specific things when looking over résumés and cover letters, so don't be offended if you don't hear back from a single company you applied to. It doesn't mean that you will never make it into the industry, it just means that you need to work harder and become the person who will be 10 steps ahead of everyone else applying to jobs in the industry.
3. You're nowhere near being done with science or math courses.
When will a journalist ever have to use math or science in their careers? I still don't know the answer to this question 21 years and 14 math classes later. College is chock-full of general education math and science requirements, so if possible, knock these classes out of the way your freshman or sophomore year. The earlier you get these classes done, the better.
4. You're actually not that great of a writer, and your grammar actually sucks.
Sorry to break the news to you. Whatever you think you know about writing and grammar rules, you don't even know the half of it. When you turn in your first journalism assignment to your professor, don't be surprised if you end up with 20 points in deductions because of misspelled words, comma splices or run-on sentences.
5. People will try and tell you journalism is a dying profession.
This is the most important thing to remember: Journalism will never die. Legacy media may be dying out, but there will ALWAYS be a story to tell in some part of the world.
6. Your work will be critiqued on a daily basis.
Expect your readers to pick out every single grammar, spelling and punctuation error in your writing. Also, expect your readers to go against your beliefs and opinions. But don't be discouraged or think that you're a bad writer. Take everything as constructive criticism and learn from your mistakes, and use that to improve your writing.
7. You cannot be versed in just one area of journalism.
As a journalist, you need to be able to know how to adapt your writing for multiple audiences, and for different areas of journalism. Although there are parts that may not be your favorite, learning a little bit about everything will come in handy in whatever setting you chose to work in.