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Need advice on my college gig

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by spud, Sep 17, 2007.

  1. spud

    spud Member

    Here's the deal. I'm currently a senior in college, have been working for the school rag since my sophomore year and have a pretty cool internship and some awards on my resume. I'm the sports editor this semester and it's absolutely killing me. On top of school I'm working like 7-8 hours a day for six bucks an hour and while it's not killing my grades, it sure isn't helping them. I mean, I'm glad I get to lay out pages, get some slick experience with InDesign and write every day of the week, but with both school AND work, it's really wearing on me.

    I'd like some semblance of a social life, but I'm not sure if quitting the paper during my last semester in college is a good idea. Will employers care that I decided to take a semester off before I entered the work force? Should I just take a reduced role at the paper... say, more like 8 hours a week instead of 25-30? Would my chops become dull after a couple months off? I'm not being a pussy here, am I? I figure I could easily handle the load (and more) if I didn't have senior-level papers and exams to worry about, but alas...

    Any and all advice is completely and wholly welcome.
  2. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Stick it out you f-ing pussy! It's tough, but the experience you're getting is invaluable as long as you don't flunk out or lose your sanity. Way back when, I tried to carry a full course load while serving as sports editor at the school paper and working Fridays and Saturdays at a local daily. I did not have a single day off the first semester of my senior year, and I had to take 18 credits my final semester to graduate on time (which seemed easy after my term as SE expired). It was a big sacrifice, but it was worthwhile.
  3. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    Take a reduced role next semester. You've put in the hours and have built your resume. Enjoy your last semester in college. You have the rest of your life to work. If the paper needs you, they can always ask for extra help, but get your social life back.
  4. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    This is coming from someone who just graduated from college:

    I think having the skills and experience as an editor will be very helpful in terms of a job after graduation. I could be wrong, but based on the interviews I had after graduation, the experience as an editor was a big plus in their eyes. Considering the difference in hours if you're an editor compared to just a writer, I think it demonstrates a strong level of commitment towards Journalism.

    I was the sports editor for my college paper last year. I'll admit it didn't help me from a grades standpoint. I think the added experience and skills outweighed the negatives for me. I personally learned more in my year as an editor than I did in the previous three years at school about journalism and writing.

    To be fair, I didn't have as much on my plate as you appear to have. My paper was a weekly and I didn't have an internship as well. I also didn't have an internship with a newspaper before graduation or any awards on my resume.
  5. sizzle

    sizzle New Member

    I'm a senior right now too, and I'm having the same problem. On top of full course load I'm an editor on my college weekly while working close to 30 hours week as a part-timer at a daily. I worked 30 hours in three days this weekend between the college rag and the daily. Its killing my social life and I'm as behind as I've ever been with classes. The thing is, I love working for the daily and hate the campus weekly - but I would totally screw a bunch of people over here at school if I quit. I also know my clips and experience at the daily are vastly more valuable at this point. I'm scheduled to work from 9 am to 11:30 pm straight between the two papers next Sunday and I have an exam on Monday. I'm miserable, but I don't want to burn any bridges. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one in this boat though. Any advice for me would be great too.
  6. MartinEnigmatica

    MartinEnigmatica Active Member

    To this day, I regret not making more of my final semester in college. Was working at the paper almost full time, chased two majors, and had other responsibilities. Yes, it was great experience, but I had zero sanity by May.

    Try to take something of a reduced role - don't quit. Don't ever quit. But a few hours here or there might make the difference between a semester that makes you want to chew your own face off, and a semester you could remember for good reasons.
  7. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    I'll second what MartinE said. Don't quit anything - you'll regret that later. But try to reduce your workload at one of the papers. Whether its going to the college advisor or the editor of the daily, explain that you're losing your happy little mind. Ask if you can have an extra day off each week at the daily, or see if you can have less responsibility at the school paper.

    Senior year should be fun, not swallowed up by work. Find a balance between everything (yes, even a social life) or you'll regret it later.
  8. txscoop

    txscoop Member

    It took me 7 years to graduate college because I worked at the college newspaper. Most of my focus was the college newspaper not some History class. Stay of the staff. The experience is crucial.
  9. Mayfly

    Mayfly Active Member

    Just keep a flask in your desk and remind yourself that when the going gets tough, the scotch gets smoother.

    Stay in school. It will look pretty good and make you feel a lot better knowing that you completed your college degree.
  10. JLawson

    JLawson Member

    The college rag isn't what everyone makes it out to be. I just quit my post as ASE to take a PT job at the local daily and I think it was a great decision and everyone I talked to said the same thing. Recruiters are going to look at your professional daily experience more than the college exp., but working at the college rag is what gets you to that point.
    It doesn't sound like you don't have the exp already so I would quit and not worry about it.
  11. BertoltBrecht

    BertoltBrecht Member

    I echo what he said. I think it depends on how good you think you are. A college paper is a great place to take chances, work with getting better at deadline and having freedom with what you write. If you've accomplished those things, scale back a little.

    I think it's about what you think is most important. Maybe is was detrimental to my career, but I had those same issues and I scaled back on stringing with the daily metro.

    But I cared about the college gig and I wanted to graduate first. So something had to get put on the backburner.

    To each his own though...
  12. What's a social life?

    I've never taken less than 15 hours in a semester since I've been in college and I've never worked less than 40 hours/week at a 40,000 daily in the 4-plus years I've been there. On top of that, my girlfriend lives 90 minutes away. I'll graduate in four years (with no summer classes) in May and with almost five years of experience at the paper.

    The social life is just smaller. It's just a matter of what's important to you.

    My advice? Don't whine.

    Edit: I'm not trying to toot my own horn. Just sharing a similar experience. There are plenty of people who work harder and longer than me, no matter the work field.
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