As an English major working closely with journalism majors, I will be the first to tell you, there are definitely differences between the two. Many people assume that journalism and English are similar degrees; I mean both do involve writing, right?
This last week I was graciously given the opportunity to attend a student media conference in New Orleans, La. Being a student media conference, it was understandably geared toward journalism and was made up of sessions that would help to improve the various forms of student media; newspapers, tabloids, websites, radio, etc.
I will start this off by saying that myself, and those attending the conference with me gained a lot through attending this conference. As an English major among journalism students, I did notice the major differences between the content I learn and the habits that I have formed in comparison to those of the journalism students even down to small details. For example, my journalism friends and I have come to arguments over comma use, as in I use them … a lot … and they don’t always appreciate it.
I choose to view this as an advantage in some ways, while I have a lot to learn and keep up on in order to do my job well, I can bring other things to the table.
Instead of focusing on what I don’t know and how this might set me back, I choose to look at it as a way of getting two for one. Through my involvement at The Collegian I am able to learn the important journalism basics that are not taught in my English courses. I get to have experience in a field other than English Education. In my opinion, the more experience the better. Working with other fields helps me to become more well rounded in terms of experience and knowledge.
At the same time, I can bring things from my content area to the group as well. While attending this conference, I gained insight into important aspects of journalism and how I can also apply these to my life as an English major. I can admit that through working with this different content area, I have become better at my own choice of study.
It’s always a good idea to branch out of your department and try new things. This isn’t to say that your field ‘isn’t good enough,’ but more to say that you can bring different viewpoints to other departments and become exposed to new opportunity.
Don’t be afraid to try different fields of study or to try new things. This is more than the cliché ‘get involved’ message. It’s about becoming a person who appreciates other subjects and the things that you can learn from them. For me personally, my experience at this conference is the prime example of how much I still have to learn. I can gain skills that will help in the future, and it’s true, you can never learn too much. I know that while I’m learning, I am also rubbing off some of my knowledge on others. In fact, I’m convinced that someday, the journalists I know will also appreciate commas just as much as I do. At least it’s what I like to think.
Madison Anderson is the Opinion Editor at The Collegian. She can be reached at [email protected]