Journalism Students: It is OK to be Afraid

Bdontknowy Friday at this time, I anticipate I will have seen at least a dozen students in some degree of panic.

Their eyes give it away–the pencil on a piece of paper, the darting eyes and, eventually, the wide-eyed stare as they calculate whether they can still drop the class and get into another.

Their fear: our journalism classes are too hard, too time-consuming, too far from their comfort zone, the expectations are too high.

They are correct on all fronts: We require a lot, expect a lot and get a lot from our students.

I promise you; that is a good thing.

Fear of the unknown is, of course, natural. Overcoming that fear, however, is the key to evolution, growth and a movement toward success.

If students knew how to do the work of which we ask, they would have no reason to be in our classes. This is the safe space in which you try and fail, fly and fall. We are your mentors and guides, sounding boards and supporters. The expectations are high and the work is hard, but only because it must be to get you to the level you need for lifelong learning and success.

There are no more entry-level media jobs. You need to leave your classes ready to launch, fully formed, into the media landscape. We will get you ready, but we can’t do it without pushing you beyond where you feel safe.

There are moments in our classes you may hate. You may even feel you hate us some days. There are far more moments, I believe, that you will love. And if you can give me your trust, I promise you will leave journalistically better, stronger, faster and better equipped for the future than you came in.

You will also leave with the promise that your Buckeye journalism family will be here–to keep helping you far beyond the confines of our semester. Connections forged in fire remain the strongest.

Our journey begins tomorrow. Try not to be scared. It’s the fun that has only just begun.

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