The other night, my friend notified me that she had won an award with the Ryerson School of Journalism.
As happy as I was for her, I was also pretty upset.
Does this mean I wasn’t doing enough? Am I not getting involved in school as much as I thought? Were my marks bad? And worst of all, was I a bad journalist?
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been rather competitive when it came to school. From comparing test marks to the amount of As I got in my report card, education was always a competition to me.
But coming to journalism school was like a change of pace. It didn’t matter what marks you received. Mostly everyone had it in them to be good journalists. It was just a matter of how well you were willing to stand out with your story pitches, writing, editing, production skills and yes, sucking up to instructors and getting noticed.
I was never really good at the latter, as I always believed that hard work trumps all. But what good is it to produce quality work if you’re not willing to show off your personality in front of your superiors?
It always annoyed me when people would act all giddy and friendly around teachers.
But then I realized, that this worked.
Before I used to call it “kissing ass”, but now I see it as breaking barriers. I wasn’t confident enough to go up to the teacher and prove myself how great of a journalist I actually am. What good is it to tell a story when people don’t know who you are? In news, especially broadcast news, personality is key if you want people to trust you!
That’s why I’ve started to go out of my way to do what I can to connect with other professionals. I made business cards. I bought a domain name. I even started cold emailing other journalists for advice. The key to success here is my willingness to get my name out there. Because then, they can start seeing what great work I can actually do.
With that said, I have quickly gotten over my not winning a school award. Getting into journalism was never about the awards. It was about sharing other people’s stories and trying to change the world. At the end of the day, I know I’m not a bad journalist.
I’ve already achieved a lot this year, and it’s only the beginning. Now that I’ve graduated, there are so many possibilities out there.
In my journalism career, I know that I can thrive because the world is my oyster. There are just too many little known stories to share.