Summer 2010 is shaping up to be a tad busy for my graduate school friends who walked out the doors of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism five years ago thinking they had plenty of time to finish their master’s theses or professional projects. After all, five years is a lot of time. Or, at least, it seemed like a lot of time at the time.
Today? Today, it doesn’t seem like much time at all, as several of them begin the scramble to tie up loose ends and finish before the looming six-years-from-the-start deadline. Or, actually start so that they can finish.
Five years ago, we were eager to get out of Scripps’ halls. Most of us had been in school for quite some time and just wanted to start doing something we enjoyed and, most importantly, earn a paycheck.
We headed into the real world, hoping to implement one or two useful bits of information we had picked up during the course of the program year. We took jobs across the spectrum. Or, in some cases, continued with schooling.
If memory serves me correctly, Regina stayed on at Ohio University to earn an MBA. Annie took an internship with the PR giant Edelman in Chicago. Rachel started writing for the AP bureau in Columbus. Phil went to law school. Stacey took a news reporting/anchor role in a location I can’t remember. Lesley took a position with a sister company of PR Newswire in Cleveland. Brooke went to work as a communication specialist of some sort for FedEx in Cincinnati. Liz became an editor for the regional magazine Northern Ohio Live. Abby landed an editor role for a business journal in Toledo. Lisa took a copyeditor position with a business journal company in Jacksonville. Jennifer took a PR/marketing position with a hospital. There were others, too, whose faces I can visualize, but whose names escape me. They are now scattered across the globe.
Much has happened in the past five years, particularly in the field of journalism, which was hit hard by budget cuts, budget cuts and, oh yeah, budget cuts. Use of the World Wide Web has made print journalism practically obsolete, and social media use is sky-rocketing with no projected end in sight. The tools we learned in the classroom five years ago seem almost old-school, and as with all careers, we’ve learned far more on the job.
Very few of us are where we started. Several of us are on job #3 or #4. Some of us have left the field entirely. Or turned to its “evil stepsister”: public relations. BUWAHAHAHAHA! [Failed evil laughter impression.]
But, for several of my journalism friends, one thing has remained constant: the August 2010 deadline for completing their master’s degrees. The race is now on. Officially.
To those of my graduate school friends working toward the finish line to earn their piece of paper—that may or may not serve them in the years to come—I wish them much success. And energy. And optimism. Because in our field, you need a healthy dose of optimism to counter all the negativity.
Best of luck!