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August 30th, 2013 10:56 PM #16
I feel like I'm in a position to talk about this a bit.
I'm a sophomore film major at a very good school that happens to be 2,800 miles from home. In high school, I did zero homework but paid attention in class and did fantastic on tests, so I coasted by with mostly B's and B pluses. My first semester of college...well, let's just say I'm lucky to still be here. My grades tanked. I was able to rally in January and mostly turn it around last semester, and this semester things are looking up. But still. It can happen. Your concerns are valid.
However, the fact that you're already worried enough about it that you're asking advice from strangers on the internet makes me think you're the type of person who will stay on top of things. Honestly, as long as you actually show up and do work, you'll be fine. It's good that they're managing your expectations, but it's possible they may have been exaggerating a bit. If your writing isn't always what they're looking for, that could potentially be tough, but hey, you're there to learn. My screenwriting professor actually instructed us to "sell out" yesterday, so I can completely relate to the struggle between writing what's assigned and writing what you feel. If necessary, you can always decide journalism isn't for you and switch majors, like Jess said.
I know how weird it is to suddenly be a small fish in a big pond (film was my thing back home, but here it's everyone's thing!) But there are positive things about it, too. It can be fun to be surrounded by people with similar passions/interests.
Anyway, I think you'll be fine. I'm not going to tell you how wonderful university is--I'm sure you're tired of hearing that, and you're about to find out for yourself! Best of luck.Gwen
College student, bookworm, terrible influence.
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September 2nd, 2013 11:06 PM #18
Thanks everyone for your responses! Don't have time to respond to each of you individually but in general:
I like how a lot of people are saying I can always change majors if I need to, and what irmgard+theodorian said about not necessarily going into journalism even if that's what I major in. It's interesting to hear how some of you got better grades in university and some did worse (at the start anyway)- goes to show how everyone has a different experience! Thanks for reminding me that the professors and everyone aren't against me; they're actually trying to help me become a better writer.
I'll check in again later since I have a feeling many of you will be wondering how I actually find university once I start!~Love names, literature, royals and horses~ <3
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September 3rd, 2013 08:03 AM #20Senior Member
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Journalism majors unite! *virtual high five*
I've just come out of a three year course studying Journalism at one of the best universities in the UK for the subject, and I'll admit I was bricking it at the start too. What's considered 'average' in school is considered 'good' at university in terms of grades: I don't know how the Canadian system works, but a first is 70% over here, 60% a 2:1 which is what most people aim for, when at school 80% was an A*, reducing in increments of 10%. It's quite hard to get a high mark - my highest uni mark was a 78% for a piece of coursework, I know a couple of people who hit 80% mark but very, very rare. 40% is the pass mark though and very few people fail unless they do absolutely no work.
WRT the point about flowery writing, get into features writing if that's your style, you're allowed to be more descriptive than news writing. Plus I don't know what your syllabus is like but ours is 50% practical journalism assessed by articles etc, and 50% theory assessed by essays and exams - stuff like media law, public affairs, things that would help us in the real world to know.
Expect to meet people with massive egos - those who think they're God's gift to journalism. I had a handful on my course and they did my head in at times. But there's also some genuinely lovely people at university too, and you'll work out who's who after a couple of hand-ins - who does the gloating Facebook posts when they get a first is a bit of a clue
I don't know if you learn shorthand as part of your course but it was the cause of 90% of first year failures on mine - it's the one thing you can't blag your way through. If you want any more advice or to talk, feel free to message me - but you'll be fine
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September 3rd, 2013 08:27 AM #22
I'm going into my third year at uni in Britain. Uni is scary at first but once you're settled in and made some friends everything is much easier. I recommend going out on freshers week (or the Canadian equivalent) and joining some societies that interest you as you'll make friends much easier this way. Remember also that everyone else is in the same boat as you: it's new for them too!
As for the academic side, I'm studying midwifery so journalism isn't something I know a lot about. However, my advice is to ask for help if you need it. The second years were right in saying that your marks will be different from high school but because the work is different and more demanding. Universities expect different things than high schools. This isn't something to worry about. As long as you can sit down with a paper after it's graded and think "Right, what does the feedback say? How can I act on that?" you will improve: reflection is key to academic and personal growth at university. Don't be afraid to ask for help, just don't expect it to be offered unless you ask. University won't spoon-feed you, they want you to grow and graduate and an independent and professional graduate ready for the work place.Name lover & Engaged to a wonderful man
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September 3rd, 2013 11:31 PM #24
It has been years since I graduated college, in May of 2001 to be exact. My BA is in writing, creative writing, I didnt "do" journalism (well, wrote for the school paper but that was it) for many of the reasons you mentioned. With stars in my eyes, I wanted to write novels and poetry for a living, honestly *not* a great "on paper" career move (which, I am currently a SAHM of 5 kids, lol) where as general "writing" or journalism is quite marketable in many ways. I sort of wish I had done a generic writing degree and taken all the creative courses "on the side" but came out with something to use later on in life. Don't get me wrong, my talent is *not* in matter-of-fact reporting (have you seen me here? I am all over the place with my sentences!) however, you can read all you want, take all the "fun creative" courses you want and if it sits well (which I hope it does) settle down with a "practical" degree in writing.
There you are, my 2 cents for the evening.
But all actual coursework aside, I loved college. Loved the social aspect and "finding myself" aspect the most and doing things on my own terms without my parents/family around to dictate what I needed to do at any given hour.Married to my love since August 2001
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