Aside from one final exam in the middle of May, this week saw me complete my last set of lectures for my first year at university. With that in mind, I decided it would only be right for me to write a sentimental and reflective blog post about the past year I’ve spent at the University of Lincoln.
Before starting university, I suppose everyone asks if it’s right for them in terms of their career and life in general. For me, I knew it was the course I wanted and – of course – had to do to get a career in journalism. However, it was the university culture which worried me: the search for friends during freshers, being that one guy who doesn’t like clubbing and someone who attends 9am workshops religiously (yep, that’s me). It’s fair to say that I wasn’t the typical student, and that worried me.
Thankfully, there were options available which meant I could make friends before I started. The university had a scheme which allowed you to find potential course mates, which helped. I was then added to a huge Facebook group chat where I made even more friends, and it was the same when it came to finding out who I would live with.
As well as this, I have to thank Kimberley from The Colour Chronicles for kickstarting what was an amazing set of opportunities. She introduced me to her friend who currently studies at Lincoln, and since then I’ve worked with them on the local community radio station, which led to me having my own radio show myself! What a small world.
It’s this sort of ‘snowball’ effect which has constantly led to me having new opportunities come up almost every day. By hosting my own radio show on Siren FM, I was then able to interview Public Service Broadcasting – a band I admire and who have played for the BBC and at Glastonbury.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time now, you’ll know that I used to do a ‘Liam Interviews’ series, where I managed to interview a couple of bloggers and authors. Whilst doing this, I couldn’t help but feel like starting an email with: “I’m a lifestyle blogger” or “I’m an aspiring journalist” would lead to an interview request being declined. Now, I have the opportunity to say I volunteer for Siren FM, or am a student journalist, and that tends to open so many more doors. Basically, having the ‘university stamp’ has allowed me to achieve so much more.
For example, two recent opportunities which have taken me by surprise have been when an article for the university’s student newspaper – The Linc – then went on to appear in an article on The Independent. As well as that, I was thrilled to go to my first media awards ceremony, where a blog post of mine was ‘Highly Commended’.
What I’ve loved about university is how it offers new skills and opportunities. I’ve mentioned some of the opportunities above, but in terms of skills, I like to think that I’ve changed as a person. It’d be unfair for me to say that university hasn’t had its ups and downs, but it’s those tough experiences which act as the perfect training ground for the world of work and later life. On another note, I’m one of those weird student journalists who loves shorthand – it’s strange to see how I’ve gone from knowing nothing to taking my 80wpm exam last month!
Now, as I look ahead to my second year at university, I’ll hopefully get to branch out into radio and online journalism. It’s funny, because when I first started the course, my main aspirations were to write for the Guardian or to be a court reporter. However, being a presenter on Siren FM has really opened my eye to the world of radio journalism – which I love just as much as print journalism. But, that being said, doing online journalism should be good, as I’m slowly starting to admit that the print industry is continuing to decline. Newspapers and magazines won’t decline completely as there’ll still be the big brands, but some will soon cease production and move online, which is a shame.
Now I have a nice long summer break to look forward to, which is filled with work experience opportunities and a couple of festivals. Roll on summer and the next year of university!
How was your week? What did you get up to? Comment below!