why i’m pursuing a career in a “dying” industry

“Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure only death can stop it.”

-Ernest Hemingway

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I wanted to be a doctor. Cut things open, help people feel better. All that stuff.

 

Now, I’m a journalism major. And weirdly enough, I feel like I have that same power. I can get inside of people and help them feel something, but with words. (also less years of schooling which is nice, too.)

 

When it’s past 1 A.M. and I’m sitting at the worn out desk of my dorm room reading a chapter in my journalism textbook about what a primary source is (as if I already didn’t know) I question myself.

 

Why am I doing all of this work for a “dying” industry?

Why is all of this money going toward my higher education when I may not even get a job?

Why am I learning all of the ways to write most effectively when people don’t even care to read anymore?

And so on. And so forth.

 

But then it dawns on me…who would want me cutting open their knee, teaching their kids, building their house if they knew it wasn’t something I had a genuine interest in doing. Have you ever thought about that…what if that doctor that put a cast on your broken arm was only doing that for the money or pride and not because he wanted to help you fix your broken limb. WHAT IF?!

 

I would not consider myself a starving artist–starving college student, maybe. Unless the “starving” part of that cliche is referring to the insatiable hunger for MORE. I want more than a desk job. I want more than a hefty pay check (believe it or not). I want more than a profession that makes people picture the size of my house when I say my job title.

I WANT TO FIND NEW PIECES OF MYSELF OUTSIDE OF A CUBICLE.

I want to find a piece of myself in others. A piece of myself in the larynx of those that do not have a voice. A part of myself stuffed in between bookshelves. A fragment of my being inside of the lead pencil tucked behind one’s ear. I want to form my entirety out of notebook papers, dated entries, annotations that are legible only by me. I WANT TO FIND MYSELF IN BYLINES.

So don’t you dare tell me journalism is dead. Don’t even try to say studying communications is going to lead to a life of nothingness because I will disagree until I exhaust myself into a pile of dust. People had to communicate somehow thousands of years ago. People will continue to crave interpersonal interactions for as long as we inhabit this very planet. We must share our stories in whatever way we can. If you are lucky enough, you may have the privilege of sharing your story or bringing someone else’s to life. Journalism is not dead. It has recreated itself into something that we must somehow fit into our human experience. As a student, it is my job to learn how to fit it into our human experience.

I did not choose my major for money or fame. I didn’t even choose my field of study to make my parents proud (though thankfully, I think they are prouder that I chose something I love truly and wholeheartedly than if I stuck with something that I thought I was supposed to love).

I do not write for any of these things.

I do not even write for you, the person reading this.

I do not write for anyone else at all. (though if I can make someone, somewhere feel something that would be quite nice)

 

I write for me.

I write for me.

I write for me.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “why i’m pursuing a career in a “dying” industry

  1. I saw this post, and I felt compelled to reply. You probably get this a lot, as you mentioned you have to defend your career and major choices often, but I’m going to say it once more. I think it’s deeply flawed that you would choose to go into an industry where there might not be an opportunity for a career. While you have passion, and that is clear through your writing, so does everyone else who’s trying to go into journalism.

    You say you’re trying to find yourself in the bylines and margins and write little journals illegibly. You say you want to write for you. All of that is great, powerful stuff. You are missing one point: if you have a career in journalism, you aren’t going to be writing for yourself. You’re going to be writing for a newspaper, who’s going to dictate what you write and how you write it. In addition, if you’re starving and homeless because you can’t find a job, writing isn’t really going to be a priority. Yes, you have drive. You have passion. But you also need a career and the ability to sustain yourself without living in your very proud parents’ basement.

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    1. Hi anon! I saw your comment, and I felt compelled to reply. I think it’s deeply flawed to undermine an entire industry because you may not understand it. As I was trying to touch upon in my piece, journalism and communications as a whole has evolved in a way that is different that what it was traditionally. By the time I graduate, there will exist job opportunities within the industry that don’t even exist yet because of the technological advances. Everything you mentioned in your comment was great but you are missing one point: no matter what my field of study, journalism or not, my identity will not allow myself to compromise my values to fulfill an industry’s needs. Maybe that sounds ignorant and naïve, but I’m proud that my naivety has made me optimistic enough to not shame anyone else’s chosen career path. If I am starving and homeless, you’re probably correct that writing will not be my priority, but I’m not really a fan of living in the hypothetical. I’m also not a fan of prioritizing commenting negatively on other people’s work, either. ☺ Now I’m going to go call my very proud parents from the basement of the dorm building I’m living in. And maybe afterward I’ll do some journalism homework, too!

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  2. Not only your parents feel proud, I do to. When people mock and criticize it means your writing caused someone to feel, have an opinion and express it. Your job was accomplished. If it is a demonstration of ignorance so be it. It takes courage to embark on a journey that may not be easy, but what better reward than being happy with what you do, feeling a sense of fulfillment because you didn’t settle. What more can you ask for? I know great things are coming your way and you will find your niche. Just never let others make you doubt, write for yourself, write your heart out and others will want to read. Love you and you go girl!

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