What the fuck am I going to do with my life?

by alexxxxxandra

I always had this vague idea I wanted to be a journalist.Not an award winning, trekking in the Congo journalist. But a stylish woman who knows the difference between a flat white and a macchiato and who is ‘political’. I suppose a Features Writer for any women’s glossy would have done nicely.  So when I got the chance to attend a conference aimed at those in Student Media wishing to pursue a career in the media it seemed like a golden opportunity. I was so excited, I was going to meet Iain Hislop, Jerome Taylor, Ed Caesar…to name but a few and ‘mingle’ with other like minded people. What could be better right?

Well it just sort of wasn’t good. The speakers were interesting, their stories compelling and their dedication to their profession admirable. And, yet, I just wasn’t feeling it. Everyone talked about Twitter like you might talk about an indoor toilet; assuming that everyone has one. I even heard the phrase ‘The Twitterati’. And I don’t have Twitter. I didn’t realise how Twitter was ‘essential’ to getting a job. And I don’t know if I want to work in an industry where it is.

Then there was networking. My own personal worst nightmare. Imagine a large room full of tables with a few chairs around them, and one famous journalist sitting on a table whilst 18-21s year old’s gather around them and compete hungrily for their attention. I could pretend that I’m too ‘cool’ too ‘above that’, but honestly, I don’t have the balls to hound someone like….like a journalist would. Yep, you got it before I did. I’m simply not cut out to be a journalist. I’m really socially awkward, how would I cope with interviewing someone? How could I be pushy enough to demand to speak to an influential politician when I struggle saying no to a simple request from a friend?

Every successful journalist attributed their success in some way to networking. And while I watched my peers rush forward to Mike Thomas and shake his hands, I was rooted to my seat. A boy barely taller and much thinner than me pushed me out of the way to grab Ed Caesar’s beautifully manicured hand whilst gabbing as loud and as fast as he could. I was shocked. I know I am supposed to be from the ‘go- and –get- it’ generation, but wasn’t this all terribly impolite? Was it really nice to hound the poor people? And for what purpose… I mean was Iain Hislop really going to whip his phone out and take some 19 year old whippersnapper’s number down, wait around until they’d got their 2.1 and then give them their dream job? No.

Ultimately though, regardless of whether or not it would pay off, I was too afraid to try. I cannot shamelessly self promote. I cannot find words to fill the silence that would surely follow when introducing yourself to someone at least fifteen years your senior and who’s work you’ve read in national papers.

In short, I am not cut out for my dream career. And, perhaps I am foolish to have believed such a career would have suited me. The NUS Student Media Summit at Amnesty International  was an incredibly valuable experience, not only was it fascinating, but it also showed me that I need to go back to square one. Back to the drawing board.

So help me, what the fuck am I going to do with my life?