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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the replies- especially you, Kathryn! I like what you said about how the professors are helping us develop marketable skills and not actually trying to make our lives miserable. :? Kibby, I'm sure you'll do really well- good luck with everything! Keep the great advice coming, Berries!
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  2. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    I have an English degree and I just started my first year of graduate school, so I understand what you're going through. You may struggle during your first year, but that's normal for most people. Yes, the coursework will be harder, but if you're used to juggling 7 classes each day, it may be refreshing and enjoyable to have only 1-2 classes each day (if your university schedules classes every other day, that is). Don't worry about your writing style just yet---you'll have a few weeks of reading, so you may be able to pick up on the journalistic style. I'm mainly a fiction writer, but I've done journalistic writing before and there is some leeway on how descriptive you can be: for newspaper articles, everything should be concise and clear, with some details, but not too many; in magazine feature writing is generally much lengthier and descriptive, especially if you're profiling a specific event, issue, or person, since you're trying to give a portrait of them with your words. Get your hands on any local and/or national newspapers as well as any magazines that catch your eye and read them as much as you can---let your brain soak in the different types of styles. College can be a place where you can learn to develop an adaptable writing style that morphs to fit the situation at hand.

    If your grades go down your first year, you can still improve in your second year. I lived in student housing my first year (on campus, though) though I still lived in my hometown, and it was a blast and it helped me open up socially. On the other hand, I had to move home the next year because I experience big food sensitivities (to wheat and dairy, mainly) that made me fall into a depression and I could not finish a lot of assignments---I dropped two classes after failing one course because I stopped going and didn't know I could just drop it, and managed to scrape by with C's and D's, whereas I'd gotten A's and B's in high school. But my second year, I got my food problems under control, buckled down, and I never got anything lower than a B- after that. It takes a lot of determination, but you can pull yourself up and move forward after a fall.

    You sound like you've picked a major you're interested in and you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses going into the program, which are two great advantages. Whatever happens, the good and the bad, it's okay because this is the time to learn---not just about journalism, but also about yourself, what you are capable of, and what you want to achieve. And remember to have fun! Join clubs that sound interesting, go to residential events, and just enjoy campus life because it can be great.

    Good luck with your studies and your journey!

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    I think I went to that university (though not in your program)! Anyway, having done undergrad and an Master's, I have some experience in transitions, so I'll throw in my 2 cents: University will be an adjustment, but you can do it. I personally didn't find first year all that difficult, and my grades didn't drop significantly from high school, but I was always a hard worker. You will need to find your groove: What works best for you for studying, how you divide your time, etc., and that may take some time, but if you focus, you'll find it.

    In terms of writing style, you'll have to adjust. As previous posters have said, the profs are trying to help you get a job, and most journalistic articles need to be concise and clear. That kind of writing is a great skill to have and can benefit you in lots of different professions; if you can learn to write well using different styles, it will benefit you in the long run. Then if you find yourself able to write longer, wordier pieces, you will be able to bring more of your style into it while still having the ability to get the facts across clearly. As I understand, your program has a reputation for being a stickler about details, so check and double-check your facts (including names of people and places; I remember hearing that half of a class failed an assignment because they misspelled the name of a local stadium). Also, from my personal experience: Never ever trust spell-check to catch all your mistakes. :-)

    Also, don't forget to have fun! I loved my university experience. I made lifelong friends. Yes, you need to work hard to get good grades, but you're also at a time in your life when you get to meet all kinds of different people and try new things. Don't work too hard that you forget to enjoy it.
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  4. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    First off, take a breath!

    Starting college can be both exciting yet scary/stressful all at the same time. Yes, you will receive plenty of papers back that are marked up in red. As a current master's degree student in education, let me tell you, it's all part of the process. The reason that your professors will be marking up your papers is to prepare you to be a better writer (in your case journalism). You will be expected to work harder than in secondary school, but I am sure that you will rise to the occasion!

    Good luck this semester as you start school! Know the berry community here is wishing you plenty of luck and thinking about you! And of course, here, ready with advice!

  5. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    New Hampshire
    You've received a lot of good advice so I don't really want to repeat anything, though it all sounds quite valuable. I DID want to reinforce the idea that if you find out that journalism is not your path you always have the option to switch majors/change your path/etc. I was actually in the same boat where I left freshman orientation (as a communication major, no focus) feeling like I made the complete wrong choice and would never be happy, yadayadayada. So I marched to registration and changed majors that day. Now I don't recommend being so abrupt with your choice, but it's always an option. Your first year you'll (probably) be taking a lot of intro classes and gen eds anyways, so even if you go a semester or two (or more) before deciding that it's not the field for you, it won't be that hard to change.

    And for what it's worth, my grades improved when I went to college. I am at one of the best schools in New England for my major and because I was so dang passionate about my major (yes, the one I changed to randomly at orientation, haha) I put loads of effort and extra work into everything.

    Get excited, you'll love it! Even if you change your mind 234523424 times you'll find what works for you. Good luck and feel free to ask thousands of questions.

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