When looking for colleges, Mizzou never made it to the top of my list. I knew that I wanted to write when I graduated college, and I knew that Mizzou was the place to be. After all, it ranks number one for journalism time and time again. But none of the opportunity in the school mattered at the time. I had big dreams of leaving home and going to a school in Texas or Southern California.
But then I realized how much tuition costs.
When I finally took the time to tour the journalism school, it felt like the perfect fit: the eclectic atmosphere, the expansive list of emphasis areas, the opportunities to write for on-campus publications. Just walking into the Reynolds Journalism Institute gave me chills. I stepped into a building where I would spend my next four years. It felt right.
But still, it all intimidated me. College presents enough challenges from missing home and being perpetually broke. Now I had the added challenge of living up to this impressive reputation. You wouldn’t think that a random state school in the middle of Missouri would have the top journalism program, but it does. And I have to figure out where I fit in there.
The journalism school consists of multiple buildings. That’s right, multiple. Mizzou has buildings for broadcast, radio, print and magazine. To top it all off, they even have a café and their own library. Some buildings haven’t been renovated since the 70s, but others feature glass construction and new Mac computers spanning the computer lab.
Aside from aesthetic, the Missouri School of Journalism has numerous interest areas for students to specialize in such as convergence, broadcast, radio, print, magazine and strategic communication. The school offers over 30 interest areas and you can actually individually design your own interest area.
But before you’re even allowed into your interest area, you need to take those glorious general education requirements. Plus, the journalism school implements their own form of this torture. You need to take five classes before you enter the golden gates of the Missouri School of Journalism. And let me tell you, they get progressively harder.
I got a 99 percent in one of my journalism classes freshmen year. Now, I struggle to get above a 77 percent on a quiz I can take multiple times with my notes. The struggle was real in my Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism class when my professor gave us a whole week to do a video project and then changed the entire project 36 hours before it was due.
I scrambled, made phone calls and mostly panicked. I finished my video by some miracle, but I swear they change deadlines on purpose. They strive to stimulate real-life journalism, but with four other classes and the usual drama that comes with college life to worry about, this project miraculously moved its way to the top of my list.
Need I remind you, these are only prerequisites for the journalism school. My conspiracy theory is that they use these classes to weed out the people who don’t truly want it. Now back to classes.
On the other side of the spectrum, I have a journalism class called Cross Cultural Journalism where we talk about issues happening around the country related to gender, sexuality and race. This class functions entirely through lecture, whereas Fundamentals of Multimedia Journalism is all video, audio and photo work with no exams. My exam in Cross Cultural Journalism consisted of four short answer and 10 true/false. The short answer was worth 80 points. Yes, you read that correctly, 80 points. Journalism school basically withers away my mental stability to nothingness.
Last year as a freshman, I worked in the Futures lab in the Journalism school transcribing interviews for hours on end. If you know what transcribing is or if you have ever done it, you basically know that it’s a modern form of torture. I sat at a computer for hours on end just regurgitating what people say on a word document.
It may seem like I hated my job, but I really didn’t. I met some really amazing people and explored the journalism school in a way I hadn’t before then. I also organized piles and piles of information for journalism contests state wide and delivered it around the journalism school (AKA a maze never meant to be escaped). For an entire week, I put things in order by name and category. And let me tell you, mail it heavier than it looks. I had serious arm muscles by the end from carrying all that mail.
But all of this connected me to the person in charge of the New York City internship program, and I learned a lot about convergence journalism and online media. The journalism school has massive opportunity oozing out of every section of the school. You just have to recognize it.
I have less than a month until I apply to journalism school. I will have to choose from over 30 interest areas and pretty much set a future for myself. It’s all very intimidating, especially considering the potential consequences. What if I don’t get in? What if I hate it and have to start over somewhere else? A billion questions race through my mind every second.
Down to the final weeks of pre-journalism, we still have to see if I can make it through these pre-requisites first.