Hello, my name is Judith Morris and I recently obtained my Master’s of Science in Journalism right here in my home town Chicago,IL from Roosevelt University. After graduation, I learned to both seek and create my own ways of using my degree in journalism as to continue my practicing my craft until I find something lucrative. It can be challenging at times, but as a recent graduate (even with a master’s degree) it is important to create opportunities for yourself in as many ways as you can. Your success throughout your college matriculation will depend heavily on your overall drive for success, your ability to execute your own plans and most importantly, your work ethic(which will determine your success in the workforce after college). When most students transition from the watchful eye of their parents, to the exciting new found freedom offered by a college campus, it can become very difficult to manage unless there is some form of constant motivation.
In fact, as a way to ensure success and focus on studies, some students actually choose accelerated programs. Even though, the courses are rigorous, most programs last 18 months instead of 4 years like typical degree programs. Some students also choose to attend a two-year college to complete the prerequisites prior transferring to a university as long as the credits are accepted. Both of these options would prove to be cost effective and also allow students the time they need to become acclamated to college course-work and meeting people of diverse backgrounds.
Personally, starting college right after high school was a moment I had been preparing for since my freshman year. The Valedictorian of the class of 2000 was attending Fisk University and since she was going there, I decided to apply as well. High school flew by. It seemed like I had just enrolled and then all of a sudden, it was October of my senior year and I was applying to schools and preparing for my cotillion at the same time. During that year, after I had completed my college applications, the admissions counselors from Fisk visited my school to recruit students and they waived everyone’s application fee. A few later, I was pulled from math class to take a call in the office. I turned out to be a personalized call from the Dean of Admissions at Fisk University that I had been accepted.
In August 2003, I began my career in undergrad at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. Fisk was founded in 1866 as one of the Historically Black College and Universities (commonly known as an HBCU), so there was plenty of culture, history and celebrity alumni on campus at all times. Our dorm Jubilee Hall was a national landmark, so we basically lived in a museum, where tourists could be walking the halls at any given time, even if the visitor was Spike Lee, Matthew Knowles(Beyonce’s father) or former vice president Al Gore ( who each taught a few seminars there). As a new student, you will have to learn to become immersed in your schools culture even of that means following rules that you do not understand nor agree with. As residents of Jubilee Hall, we were not allowed to walk around in the lobby in our pajamas, we could not have male visitors in our rooms, we could not walk up the “Golden Staircase” as it was reserved for 50 year alumni and lastly, we had a 12am curfew. Yes that’s right, I said curfew at midnight in college. Even though the environment was very structured we made our own fun and balanced that with school work.
One of the things I learned very early in college was to be friendly with as many people as possible. Introduce yourself, ask them questions about their major and what clubs they’re involved in on campus. Really get to know who’s around you because you may need a study-budy one day, or a ride to Walmart or someone you can confide in. Do not limit yourself because this is how you learn how to network, which will definitely come in handy when you enter the job market. You should also make sure you develop a one on one relationship with your teachers, especially the ones who gives tests, where the entire class fails. (Every school has them) You need to be that teacher’s bff so that you can understand any tough items that will be covered on tests. In some cases you may end up having work -study, which will definitely come in handy as a broke college student and it is also a way to really develop your professional skills in a comfortable work environment. You will also learn to prioritze, plan and handle multiple difficult tasks simultaneously, which will also be beneficial later on.
In terms of planing, I wish that someone had explained to me that I would regret not allowing time for internships or study abroad. Do not fall into that trap because you will always be able to find a job, but the time to take advantage of opportunities to open new doors will not always be accessible to you. If you have to work, plan out how your school year will go and consider what you will sacrfice as to ensure that your college experience is enjoyable. Be sure to join organizations on campus and run for as manny offices as possible, so that you can let future employers know that you are a leader. Lastly, the main ingredient to your college career is your major. Please research your major and all of the job prospects within that field. I know this sounds obvious, but there are situations where a school will not have a major that suits the students career interests, so the student winds up leaving, floating along in a major they don’t like or staying an extra year or two, because they switched majors and now have to start over.
Overall, do your researh, have a plan, adapt to the schools culture, stay focused and you will do just fine.