As a green young fresher way back in 2011, I wasn’t keen on the whole student journalism thing. I thought it was for bored English students with nothing else to do.
But then, in the summer between my first and second years, I did an internship in PR. It was in fashion PR, so the opposite side to the magazine world – the world I wanted to break into. After doing this, I realised that unless I started practising my writing, on a platform open to criticism, and started beefing up some kind of writing portfolio, I really had no chance. Every other intern, both in PR and in the magazine world, had some platform to showcase their writing or photography – from Tumblr, through blogs to student journalism.
Still hesitant though, I shelved it while I left for Seville, Spain on an Erasmus Exchange semester. Whilst there, the Faculty of Humanities at Southampton awarded me a blogging scholarship to promote the Erasmus scheme. The blog I wrote was literally “this is what I did this weekend, here is a photo, bye” – nothing special, funny, or in my view, particularly interesting. I was in it for the money!
Weirdly enough, however, some people actually liked it, and began following me. This tiny, irrelevant blog got so much attention that the idea of student journalism began to seem a bit less daunting. I realised that people were actually reading what I wrote, and not everyone hated it, and a sudden feeling of “hey, maybe I can do this” surfaced.
Because this what it boiled down to: I was scared of the criticism and hate (and believe me, you get it), the trolls and the overall dicks on the Internet. I was also being a snob and thought it was beneath me. But I got over that, and said hello, Wessex Scene. I emailed in once I got back from my semester abroad, and joined all the Facebook groups. I started writing a few random pieces about stuff going on at Uni. Then all of a sudden, I got the balls to voice my opinions, which got some nice hits, both good and bad. But I think if you’re writing stuff that can make students give a crap about something, enough to argue about it on the Wessex Scene comment section, you’re doing something right.
Here I am now on my year abroad in China, editing a piece a wrote on holiday this summer, to tell you, the Freshers of 2013, that if you have any interest in the media industry, be it in publishing, journalism, arts, or even just want a place to practice to writing and thicken your skin a bit, then join the Scene.
The Scene isn’t just for students to read, it’s for students to participate in. Also, as I happily discovered, it’s not full of bored English students, but very nice, welcoming, people from a range of disciplines. While humanities are the majority, this should not be, and is not, a hindrance. Join the family!
Fancy giving student journalism a go for yourself? Email email@example.com to get a writers’ account, and look for the Facebook groups!