In conclusion…

I’m breathing a sigh of relief right now.

I’ve finished my journalism coursework for the semester.

I’m also taking a deep breath.

Because I know the real adventure is about to begin.

All of my regular classes are over. The to do list on my computer says “study” more than anything else. I just finished a paper that marks the biggest push of my remaining projects. My convergence project is finished and revised. Things are starting to wind down.

But then again, they’re just beginning.

I’m entering my upper level classes in the spring. Before the new semester even starts, I’ll be doing orientation at the Missourian and gearing up for a semester of reporting. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m ready to see what this being a journalist thing really looks like. I’m ready for the next big adventure.

But I think this past semester has really brought me a lot closer to being ready for this next chapter. I’ve gained a lot more confidence in a wide variety of skill sets. I can tell people I know how to produce audio, photo and video projects. I’ve stepped further outside my comfort zone than I have in a long time. And even in the final project, I was reminded that I’m still capable of what I love doing best: writing.

Something I enjoy doing each time I get through an interesting milestone is making lists. I like to list out all the things I’ve accomplished and learned. It really helps me put my life and experiences in perspective and remember my successes and failures. And I’ll be honest, I try to make at least part of it funny to help me keep a sense of humor about the good and bad parts of my experiences.

So, without further ado, I present “What I Learned in J2150.”

  • Smart phones are amazing. Hands down. Not only were they the subject of one project, but they saved me a ton of heartache during a couple of my first projects. I used the email feature on my phone to set up an interview that gave me invaluable insights to use for much of the first half of the semester.

    Remember these photos? I took them at the beginning of the semester, the first time I'd ever used something nicer than a point and shoot camera. I've come a long way since then.

  • Neither I, nor my computer, are cut out for a broadcast major. I think the video portions of the class were probably the most frustrating for me. I learned a lot for sure, but there were always so many things to watch for in video that I almost always finishing my projects thinking “I could be so much better at this.” That, and my poor computer didn’t have the memory capacity to compress video efficiently, so I spent a few late nights sitting at my computer waiting for my two minute video to compress after three hours.
  • I can be confident in my ability to complete assignments on a quick turnaround. I can think of at least three times this semester when I ended completing a huge piece of an assignment in under 24 hours. The event’s tomorrow? Sure, I’ll cover it. The interview fell through? All right, we’ll do it the day before the due date. I won’t pretend it wasn’t stressful, but I definitely grew a lot.
  • Team projects aren’t so scary. I know I mentioned this a lot, but I absolutely loved my group. We worked really well together, and I think we did a pretty good project.
  • I have a lot of respect for people who do multimedia journalism. I never realized how much work it takes to get a good picture or put together b-roll. Honestly, I can’t believe I ever thought my job was harder than theirs. People with these jobs work at least as hard as I do.
  • I now have really specialized knowledge about art and homelessness in Columbia. I always think it’s funny how covering stories makes you a bit of an expert in the most disparate topics.
  • I picked the right emphasis area. I loved learning all the different multimedia tools, and I think they’re going to make me a better, more well-rounded journalist. But I’m glad I went into a writing emphasis. I like using the different equipment and software, but I’m not as passionate about them as I am with using the written word. I think the final project really solidified this for me, because I got to work with both writing and multimedia.

I took this photo at pretty much the other end of the semester. I was definitely a lot more confident working with a camera at this point.

On the whole, I’d say this was a pretty productive semester. I learned a lot, and I feel way more ready to head into my upper level classes in the fall. I also started this blog. While this began as a class assignment, I’ve really come to like it over the past 15 weeks. It’s nice to have a focus from which to tell my experiences and to practice writing consistently.

At this point, I’ve decided I’ll try to keep blogging here when next semester rolls around. I don’t know that I’ll have much to say over break, but I’m sure there will be plenty to talk about in January. I’m ready for whatever the next phase of my journalism education throws at me, and I’m excited to share it here.

See you next year!

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