I don’t want to be a journalist.
There, I said it. It’s not really something you’re allowed to say three weeks into the first year of journalism school, but I’ve always tried to be honest here, so I’m saying it.
The truth is, I felt it after the first journalism lecture, on the first day of classes, but I pushed that feeling away. I thought maybe it was just first week jitters, or perhaps I was just overwhelmed by the whole university experience. Actually, you know what? That’s not true either. I knew it wasn’t jitters. I just wanted that to be the problem. The idea that I’ve put so much effort and money and time into getting into a program that I immediately realized is wrong for me scared me too much to face it at first. It wasn’t just fear either, it was also embarrassment. There I was going around for the last six months telling everyone I was going to be a journalist, and now I’ll have to tell them all that it was a big mistake. I’ll have to tell my dad that I’m wasting his money being here, and my scholarship money too. I’ll have to tell my friends who all know what they want, that I actually have no idea where I’m going.
It’s terrifying also. Terrifying, because I don’t know what to do now. Like, at all. It’s too late to switch programs and even if I could switch, I have no idea to what program I’d switch. I’ve spent the last six years assuming (consciously or subconsciously) that I would become a journalist when I grew up. I mean, in career planning class I pretended to consider other options, but truthfully, I was always planning on journalism. I mean, it’s not like I had my whole life planned out, but I had a direction, and that felt good. I felt bad for all of the poor souls who still hadn’t figured out what they wanted. I loved it when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up because I had an answer.
I really did think I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that journalism is a difficult profession. The hours are long, the jobs are scarce and low-paying, and the deadlines are murder. Furthermore, no one knows what journalism is even going to look like in four years, or one, even. I was okay with that though. I felt like it was a field that was so right for me that I couldn’t go wrong, after all, I love to write and I love talking to people. That’s all you really need, isn’t it?
It took one Journ 1000 class to realize that I had it all wrong. I know that you’ve waited this whole long, ramble-y post for me to explain exactly why it is that I felt this way suddenly, but the truth is that I really couldn’t tell you. The best way that I can explain it is that I listened to descriptions of possible careers we could have-as foreign correspondents, news anchors, radio hosts, parliamentary reporters-and I couldn’t picture myself doing any of them. More than that, I didn’t want to picture myself doing any of them. All of the professor’s descriptions of a journalist were of this determined, dogged reporter chasing down leads and knocking on doors and calling everyone in the phonebook until she got answers. That, I realized, isn’t me at all.
So what do I want, exactly? What can I picture myself doing? I only have vague shadows of ideas at this point. I wish I had more. It scares me that I don’t, but the honest truth is that I’m not even close to knowing what I want.
I want to be writing still; I’m sure of that. Writing important things, things that really matter. Things that will change peoples’ minds and make them listen, make them understand. I still like talking to people too. I recently joined the debate team, and I love it. Public speaking, I realized, gives me a bit of a rush actually. The other thing is that I still care about news. I flip through all of the news apps on my phone like four times a day and I’m constantly texting Mat about the debate over Syria and the elections in Australia and Kenyan leaders being tried for war crimes. I think that someday I’d like to be in a position where I could do more than just report on those things. I would like to be in a position where I could make real changes in foreign policy and diplomatic relations.
And now that I go back and read that paragraph it really just looks like I want to go into politics. Do I? I’m not sure. I wish that I had a dream…
For now, I guess I’m going to journalism class. I’m sure I’ll learn some useful stuff there, regardless on what I choose to do. I’ve got a year to figure my shit out. Hopefully that will be enough. Hopefully God really does have a plan for me.
Otherwise, I’m screwed.