Thursday, August 28, 2008

I think I can, I think I can, I...thought I could

All journalism students alike will have been faced with the same quintessential first-day-of-class ice breaker.

"Why do you want to be a journalist?"

Last Wednesday, in two of my journalism classes a resounding number of my classmates responded with, "I thought I wanted to be a ________ reporter, but..."

In the span of just eight hours I'd met 30 journalism students, around 80 percent of whom no longer wanted to be reporters.

It seems a variety of factors -- unwanted mandatory classes, grim professors, the equally grim reality of the shrinking profession -- have managed to push these students to the edge. Some believed they weren't cut out for journalism any more. Others planned on pursuing more financially stable careers. Others yet were going to travel different literary paths with their writing talents.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing young journalists today is simply themselves. The aforementioned factors may have been a force that started the push but essentially the students themselves decided to jump away from their one-time aspiration. They convinced themselves they weren't meant for the media field, and/or vice versa.

Heck, after giving things a little (honest) thought, even I joined the bandwagon.

"Hi, my name is Allison and I thought I wanted to be a sports reporter or a foreign correspondent, but now I'd rather take my chances on the street in a box with my name on it."

Here's to one more year of journalism curricula, and hoping to restore a little faith in myself.

Allison Hong is (biding her time as) a print journalism major at the University of Southern California. She spends her days reading Reuters' Oddly Enough stories and trying to catch episodes of ESPN's Around the Horn.

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