This semester made reality hit me harder than if I were to jump off of the top of Van Meter Hall. Rude awakening is an understatement, especially in regards to what I imagined I would be doing. Beginning freshmen year, I told myself I would be ultra-involved, in like, everything. Unfortunately, that led to me going to tons of meetings one time and from there on out, ignoring all future emails to actually get involved. School is a serious FULL TIME JOB. A full-time job in which I thought you received training for the past thirteen years, but actually didn’t. See, I thought after going to school for over a decade, I would be remotely prepared for what college entailed, but I was sorely mistaken. Now, I’m not sure if this problem lies within myself for underestimating what school taught me, or within the school for never actually teaching me what college entails. Regardless, there are definitely some sort of cracks in the system.
I began college with some twisted train of thought that went something like this. “Well, I really want to make a difference and I kinda like to write. I’m also pretty snarky, so hey! I’ll become a journalist.” Mind you, my school had a barely functioning newspaper that was run by a PTA mom and a bunch of overly involved students who could not put their full dedication into the dying publication. This is where all of my whopping experience came from.
Now, picture me in my first Journalism course ever, with let’s admit it, not exactly one of the easiest professors in the department. To say I was scared more than a Catholic school student who had a certain nun who hated them, is probably the biggest understatement of the century. I was absolutely petrified of this guy who dictated to the class, with a commandeering voice and a room-filling presence.
I attended classes twice a week, living in perpetual fear of when the professor would call me out for my lack of experience, lack of intelligence, lack of brain cells. I don’t know. Something.
We wrote our first spot stories about a car accident on Mass. Ave. I was at my breaking point, just hoping to please Perkins at least a little. Two students handed out the papers again, as well as another handout. That handout happened to be my own article. When the handout reached me, I had two options. I could either burst into tears/flames on the spot, or I could contain my internal freakout for two seconds to rapidly tap my neighbor and ask if my eyesight was failing me. Simultaneously, every mistake I could have made on the paper was running through my head. Perkins is definitely handing this out because it’s one of the crappiest things he has ever written and he wants to show the class how NOT to write. Yep. This is it. Cue tears springing to my eyes.
Perkins then leads the class to his attention and asks where Mary is. My voice shook so hard when I identified myself, I was ashamed of sounding so weak. But Perkins literally put the fear of God into my soul. He proceeded to tell the class that, although my story was not perfect, it had some good examples worth noting. Cue a prolonged sigh of relief.
After getting a true judgement of my work, I began to have more confidence in myself and my professor. I no longer feared being persecuted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I felt more comfortable with being wrong. Previously, I tried so hard to impress that I didn’t take into consideration that thirty five other kids were also shaking in their boots at the sight of Bartlett 201.
On another note, I don’t think I would rather have any other professor for journalism. Higher standards from a professor thus teaches me to accept nothing than the best quality of work. For this, I am thankful. Even if it did mean I had to outline entire newspapers in a day. Thank God those days are over.
So, adieu, Journalism 201. Until next semester.