When I woke up this morning to a rainy December day, it did not occur to me that I would be attending my last undergraduate class. As with most students near the end of the semester, my mind has been in ten different places, and going to class is simply a way to pass the time in between the studying, papers, and exams that separate us and five weeks of relaxation. Or, in my case, and undefined period of relaxation, accompanied with the ever looming “job search.”
After editing the last batch of articles in my “pending” folder, I decided to throw my two cents out there one more time with this last post. I came up with a list of five parting thoughts/things I’ve learned as I prepare to leave this all behind.
5. Mistakes are truly the best way to learn.
The summer going into my Junior year at Albion, The Pleiad was down to an official staff of three individuals, myself included. Since then, we have had to quickly learn not only about journalism, but about management and leadership as well. A fair number of mistakes were made in this process, but I can confidently say that they were truly for the best in the end. As I leave my position of Editor-in-Chief this semester, I leave behind a staff of twenty-four students who are highly invested in the future of this organization, as well as learning about the ever changing world of journalism. They have all made their share of mistakes as well, but everyone has improved (and continues to improve) immensely both in their writing and in their overall character. Student journalism is a learning experience, after all.
4. Not everyone is going to like what you do all the time.
I hate to admit, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I stress myself out making sure that things are done well and that everyone is happy with the results. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned during my time as upper-level management of The Pleiad is that sometimes you have to make a decision that will upset someone and that’s alright. Whether it is choosing to run a controversial story or publishing a scathing quote, in the world of journalism, it’s not conducive to make everyone happy. Understanding this has forced me to learn to be confident in my decisions and do what I believe is best. I’ve tried my best to make sure this publication is as objective as possible and that the writers and managers make strong ethical decisions, which is all I can really ask.
3. There is no replacement for outstanding communication.
When I swift through job applications and read the “requirements” section, I notice on nearly every form it lists that candidates must have “strong communication skills.” In this position, I’ve learned exactly why employers are looking for individuals with “strong communications skills.” The heart and soul of an organization like The Pleiad is communication. It is understanding how to interview people and make them feel comfortable, understanding the importance of keeping your coworkers and supervisors informed, learning how to communicate effectively with your readers through social media or comments, and understanding that positive and open communication makes for a cohesive and welcoming work environment. The communication skills I have learned in this organization are irreplaceable and I cannot wait to take them with me to my new environment, wherever that may be.
2. Journalism is changing, but ethics should not.
The 2012 election was the first year I was able to vote. After following the election carefully, I found myself disgusted with a lot of the things the large media corporations focused on and the way stories were presented. I saw so many inaccuracies reported as fact that it really made me question the integrity and ethics of many of these news outlets. As the medium of journalism shifts from print to online and social media, the spreading of news (accurate or inaccurate) becomes easier every day. The need for well educated, ethical journalists to share objective news is still pertinent. If this is the career path I choose, I fully intend to be one of those journalists.
1. Change is a wonderful thing.
My time at Albion College has been short (only five semesters, since I transferred from Oakland University after my freshman year). I have been involved with The Pleiad ever since I started here. I am surprised to find that leaving behind my friends and the organizations I have invested so much of myself into is not as difficult as I thought it would be. I am excited by the prospect of doing new things and I feel lucky to have the opportunity to move on to something else. I feel confident in The Pleiad, as I know each writer and staff member will continue to bring in new ideas and help The Pleiad develop to its full potential. I’m excited for my own change and to see the positive changes The Pleiad will make after I’m gone (for one thing, be on the look out for a new website layout in the future).
So after all that is said and done, a final thank you to all of our avid followers is in order. Your readership and interest in both Albion College and The Pleiad mean a lot. That being said, this post also serves as an end of semester notification. You can look for new stories again when the new semester begins at the end of January.
Best of luck to the new Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editors! I know you will do wonderful things for The Pleiad in the future.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons