The student becomes the teacher

Published 10:30 am Monday, April 9, 2018

Last week, I had the opportunity to return to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, only this time, I wasn’t sitting in a lecture hall desk.

Robin Street, my public relations professor, invited the EAGLE managing editor Donica Phifer and me to speak to her class about the different ways public relations professionals and journalists work together. I spent some time making a presentation that was informative and not completely boring, and felt prepared to speak on a subject I spent four years and some change studying.

What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the difference between being the student and being the teacher.

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Here I was, standing in front of students in a classroom I’d sat in no more than a year ago, speaking to people who were once my peers. Yet now, almost a year later, I have been called upon to give them advice for their future careers. It didn’t hit me until I was front and center, waiting for the students to take their seats, that I’ve actually had my fair share of experience since walking across the stage.

During the lecture, we discussed our good and bad encounters, as well as different writing methods and the importance of solid working relationships with those whom you’re interviewing or pitching a story.

We also took a moment to answer questions about our real-life experiences, and a few students asked about topics that stuck with me. One in particular asked me why I decided to become a journalist in the first place.

My answer, to put it simply, is because I love storytelling. Whether it’s a political event or simply a profile on a notable Oxonian, I can genuinely say I never tire of the excitement from learning about a good story and sharing that story with the community.

This week, I’m looking forward to sharing more stories with readers of the EAGLE. From people rallying together to champion a cause they believe in, to other everyday citizens going out of their way to help their neighbors, there’s always someone whose story can be shared with others, whether they realize it or not.

If that student is anything like I was when I sat in that seat, she’s probably wondering if she really has what it takes to tell those stories.  I’m still asking myself that question.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to answer it, but until then, I’m content to keep practicing.

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to speak to those whom I hope to call colleagues one day, and regardless of the path they choose, I hope they find as much joy in their career as I’ve found in mine.