CM has birthed many gems since it’s inception back in 2007. From amazing writers and editors to photographers and social media superstars, College Magazine houses some of today’s most promising young talent. One of those promising stars happens to be Josh Axelrod, who reigned as our Editor-in-Chief back in 2013. After Axelrod worked his way up the CM ranks and lead our team to new heights during his senior year at the University of Maryland, he further skyrocketed into the world of journalism. He now sits as a Copy Editor and Web Producer at the Washington Examiner.
Before landing his brag-worthy position, Axelrod was a measly freshman who had a faith-filled mind that the college he chose would steer him in the right direction. Growing up in Pittsburgh, he never really attended a school he felt passionate about, but all that changed when the beautiful campus of UMD became his new home. With a major in journalism and minor in creative writing, Axelrod had a pretty clear idea of what he wanted to do with his career: write. “The journalism school was the best preparation for real journalism experience I could’ve ever asked for,” Axelrod said. “I also met the best friends I could have asked for who were extremely driven in the J-school.”
With everyone around him landing writing internships, Axelrod realized that he needed to hop on this shiny bandwagon as well. Axelrod turned to his peers for inspiration on how to get a foot in the door of the journalism world. First stop: College Magazine. “I started back when beats still mattered, and I was a sports writer for about 6-7 months. From there, the start of my sophomore year I became editor of the social life section. Then, I became editor-in-chief my junior and senior year where the magazine became my baby,” Axelrod said. As basically a historical figure in the CM books, eventually the time came to hand over his masterpiece to the upcoming generation (but don’t worry, a virtual sculpture of Josh is in the works). Axelrod went on to positions with Bleacher Report and NBC Washington to finish off his senior year strong at UMD, taking with him an overall badass resume.
Axelrod landed his first real-world gig in Virginia working for a media company. With such great experience under his belt, he didn’t expect that with his real-world job came real-world setbacks. “I got laid off from my first journalism job that I received about a month after graduation after working for them about 2 and a half months. I had a 5-month period last year where I was completely lost,” Axelrod said. This unfortunate truth can happen in any college grad’s life, but it’s important to remember not let it get you down. “Life comes at you fast, you have to be ready for it. I was applying for jobs and working freelance positions like crazy during this time. Thankfully, things have a way of working themselves out.”
Fast-forward to the present day and things certainly seemed to have worked themselves out. You can find Josh in the cozy offices of D.C. at the Washington Examiner. As D.C.’s most prominent conservative political media outlet, Axelrod uses his role of Copy Editor and Web Producer as a way to combine his love of writing along with his corporate duties. “Conservative media was not what I expected to get myself into when I graduated college,” Axelrod said. With this unexpected career move, Josh still finds the leg-room to do what he loves. “Producing is my main job, but I do a little writing on the side — what we call pop-politics (the closest thing to an entertainment section as our site is going to get). When Jeb Bush Thinks That Super Girl is Hot, that’s the kind of thing I write.” Unlike the medicinal or law careers some of your friends invest time in, one benefit of the journalism world is its ability to be flexible to its changing climate. If the people love entertainment, why not give them what they want? “A cool moment in my job was when Rosie O’Donnell tweeted at one of my posts and took some direct shots at Donald Trump. It would’ve been awesome if he responded and I became the middleman between the two, but of course he didn’t.”
Even though it seems as if Axelrod has been taking the journalism world by storm for decades, it wasn’t but two years ago that he was in the same position that many of us are in today: a college senior trying to figure out what the hell will come of all of this hard work. “There were plenty of times in school when I thought to myself, ‘is this really something I can sustain and make a life out of?’ I realized early on in my college career (social and professional), that I was saying ‘no way’ too much. I was afraid of burning myself out, and then I realized that I was stupid and I only had four years. I suddenly opened myself up to more possibilities and things became easier.”
Sometimes this rollercoaster ride of college (and let’s face it, life) has a way of making us feel like we’re forever going to be at the peak. Our stomachs feel like they are one with our throats, and the wind is moving at about 100mph against our flapping faces. When that rollercoaster finally drops over that peak, we may not know what we’ll dive into, but that may be the point of it all. Just hoping there’s no crash.