The five people you meet in journalism school

by azaleon

1. The Idealist

Move over Anderson Cooper, Bernstein and Barbara Walters because this little engine that could is coming for you. Don’t lecture this go-getter on media market trends and falling stock prices because this is what the idealist was born to do, dammit. The idealist is on a first-name basis with his/her professors and can normally be found in the journalism school at all hours –class or no class. But when they are in class, the professor will bring up their work to show other students how it should be done.

The idealist has more LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers than you have actual friends. While you were off boozing, this spitfire was emailing back and forth with New York Times editors on his/her latest masterpiece.

The idealist doesn’t want to talk about their awards, but really they do. So much. Awards.

After graduation: The idealist ends up at a newspaper with a circulation of roughly 25K and is crestfallen when he/she learns their first assignment is not uncovering mass scandal, but rather, covering the annual (insert parade-worthy holiday here) Parade.

2. The “I heard this class was easy” guy

They started as an English major. Then after a semester, decided Philosophy was more befitting. Maybe PolySci since they watched a bunch of West Wing on Netflix last year and really liked it.

Finally, by the start of this person’s junior year, they landed at the journalism school. They don’t really know what they want to do here, maybe PR, maybe advertising or maybe sports writing because they like going to football games. All they know is a friend in their folklore class told them journalism classes were pretty easy and here they are.

The idealist scoffs at the “I heard this was easy” guy and thinks he compromises the entire J-school’s integrity.

After graduation: After taking a year off after graduation (it only took five-and-a-half years!) to do some soul searching, “I heard this class was easy” guy lands at a sales job making $30K plus commission.

3. The Greek

Members of the Greek community LOVE the J-school (at least at Indiana). I still have no idea why, but Greek letters were almost as prevalent as notepads.  You might be quick to put this classification of student in the “I heard this was easy” category, but that’s not always to case (not to say that it’s never the case). The Greek will actually put forth some decent work in class and earn good grades, but is less likely to take that extra step to work at the student paper or other organization, like the idealist would. After all, too much of their time is spent organizing rush and formal.

The Greeks will largely travel in groups, so it should not be surprising to see packs of at least five sitting together for lecture. This strategy comes in handy if one misses class or an assignment.

What’s interesting is when the Greek finds him or herself in a smaller class in junior or senior year and starts making friends with the likes of the idealist. Granted, this relationship is quickly squashed when the semester is over, but still, nice to think about.

After graduation: Their connections from family or Greek brethren hooked them up with an entry-level corporate job in the closest metropolis. They’ll never use most of the knowledge learned in J-School, but hey, the diploma looks nice.

4. The Sports Nut

Easy to spot, the Sports Nut is the guy who looks like he was raised in a Dick’s Sporting Goods store. He’s head-to-toe in conflicting team apparel, wearing a ridiculous-looking Kobe jersey one day and Carmelo one the next. Although it’s clear he attends (BCS school) University like everybody else on campus, Sports Nut insists on rocking the same flat-bill hat every day with your school’s logo on it. He’s got to be balding by now.

He wants to work in sports. He doesn’t know how or where, but he wants to work in sports. Sports. Sports.

Think this guy’s messing around? Check out the medals he’s won on Bleacher Report. Ohhhh yeaaa.

He spent a semester on the student newspaper’s sports desk because, well, sports, but he couldn’t understand why it was a problem to cheer for his school while covering their event. Seriously, lighten up, mean sports editor.

After graduation: Sports Nut is doing pretty well for himself. He’s contributing to five different blogs covering his favorite teams. It doesn’t pay and he still lives at home, but, sports.

5. The Double-Major(er)

That bastard. That traitor. All this time the idealist has been slaving away with coffee and transcribing interviews and then this m-f comes along and nonchalantly explains that they’re getting this degree in addition to one from the business school in a major that makes real money.

So why are they at the J-school? They were bored? Thought it would be fun?

The thing is, this person is probably pretty darn smart, so they’ll get just as good of grades as somebody only majoring in journalism, but the double-major is also getting that sweet business school lovin’ on the side. Or maybe the j-school is what they’re getting on the side.

The double-major(er) can make even the truest j-schoolers question their whole path in life.

After graduation: Getting their MBA, law degree or something. I don’t know. Screw that guy, I’M FOLLOWING MY PASSION, DAMMIT.

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