Written by Brittany Carlson.
The end of my degree is so close I can taste it. It’s the final sprint to the finish, the last second before take-off. It is kind of like standing at the top of a staircase when all you can see below is darkness and uncertainty. You know you have to take the next step, but you’re not sure if another step will catch you or if you’ll instead plumet downwards.
I am studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications with a major in Journalism which has been my dream course ever since I was 14. I have always been curious about the world around me and loved to write. So, when I attended my school careers fair, many years before we were encouraged to go, lots of the university tables recommended that I study journalism. I looked into it and have been hooked ever since.
Looking back on my time at university, I have had a little bit of everything. In my first year, I lived on campus and got to attend lectures and classes just over the moat. In my second year I completed my studies mostly online and my third year has been fully online.
Studying online has been such a mixed bag of emotions and experiences. At first, I liked it because it meant I didn’t have to make the two-and-a-half-hour drive to uni from my home. Then I began to miss the campus and my friends. I have liked the flexibility of online study… and the sleep ins. But it is hard to stay motivated and hold myself accountable sometimes.
One really interesting experience has been doing an internship online. I have been undertaking an internship with La Trobe University’s Media and Communications team. Though I started this internship at the end of June, and I am yet to meet any of my team in person.
Despite this, I feel as though the experience of doing an internship has been invaluable. Doing it online has also prepared me to enter a workforce that I know is rapidly changing. And one that will likely retain an online focus, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is a finished chapter in the history books.
It is important that we all learn how to operate in an online world, as this is the future of a lot of industries and completing this internship has allowed me to do just that.
It has equipped me with essential skills and developed me in ways I didn’t even know I needed developing in. It has sharpened my industry specific skills but also given me a whole range of new contacts and networks.
I couldn’t recommend doing an internship more. La Trobe has wonderful programs that allow you to receive credit for completing an internship, which means I have been able to gain real world experience and at the same time work through my degree. I haven’t had to choose.
Having to face a more online-centric world doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Yes, it is hard right now because all our personal, social and professional lives are online, but once our personal lives and our social lives transition back to a sense of normality again, having an online professional life won’t be so bad.
Working online and staring at a screen all day is hard. At times, you feel cut off from everything. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to learn the skills to operate as a professional online because I truly believe for a lot of industries a blended model will be how most of us work after graduating.
If I could talk to my first-year self now I would say, be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, relish in every opportunity, get glasses and go outside every day!
Though find myself ready to take a step forward into the unknown, I am confident that my time at La Trobe, and especially my internship, has prepared me to land on another step and not crash into the darkness.