I started writing articles for The Maneater the summer before I came to MU, and last August I was hired as the Student Life beat writer. Over the course of the year, I interviewed so many different people, from notable alumni to a couple who were married in the Speakers Circle to the lead actor of an indie film, and made so many amazing friends.
In April, I took over the Campus Life section as Editor. It’s my job to come up with story ideas, assign stories to writers, pitch photos, edit with writers, manage Maneater Long Reads (a feat that terrifies me), go to workshops, work office hours, hand out papers on distribution day, recruit new writers/photographers/designers, come up with graphics, put stories online, and attend two weekly budget meetings. On a weekly basis.
Sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed. Sometimes, especially when I don’t return to my apartment until after 8 p.m., it feels like I’m working a full-time job. Sometimes, Maneater duties conflict with classes, and I’m left to make a decision — go to my journalism lectures/labs, or go do actual journalism.
Which brings me to why I’m writing about this particular topic: today, I had a super important interview scheduled during the middle of my J2150 lab. Thus, my dilemma — class, or The Maneater?
After I attempted to inconspicuously leave class, I ran to my car (the only relatively close/quite place I was able to use) to do the interview. And the source never contacted me. I spent 45 minutes sitting in my car in a parking garage waiting for a source to call me back and missed the class about camera basics (which I probably really needed to be there for, since I know literally nothing about cameras).
So, here I am, interview-less and camera knowledge-less.
Journalism is hard sometimes. Sometimes you end up missing a valuable lab, sometimes a source stands you up, sometimes you feel behind in your classes and totally overwhelmed and stressed. But sacrifices have to be made.
Before I applied to be an editor last year, I talked to some of my friends who were editors the year before. They told me it was hard, that I’d spend all my time in the office, never be home, and fall behind in classes. And now, just the second week into school, I’m realizing just how correct they were.
But, to me, it’s all worth it — I get to tell peoples’ stories. I get to be a part of the Maneater family. I get to take wide-eyed freshmen writers under my wing and be a mentor to them. I get real-world experience with reporting and meeting deadlines and editing, which I believe will benefit me more than getting straight A’s in college (though, straight A’s would be nice).
So, to the stress, to the workload, to the irony of journalism classes getting in the way of my journalism job: bring it.