You Nouse, you lose? My time as a student journalist

Student media may be tiring but it also provides many skills for life

Image: Jan De Boer and Saskia Starritt

Student journalism; a weird and wonderful land of wacky characters who didn’t quite make the cut for Alice in Wonderland so decided to spend their time producing written content with varying degrees of success instead. The kind of place where you can quite literally do whatever you want – providing it doesn’t contravene libel laws – and still produce something to be as proud of as your firstborn. Even if it seems like a mishmash of random thoughts and ideas bleeding from the page in black ink, with comment pieces at time seeming like a weird crossbreed of a Dali original and a rousing polemic.

 

It is this world which I have inhabited for 12 months now, and which as of today I wave goodbye to. This piece is my paean to student journalism, an attempt to go out in style; though style is not something to which I have ever been able to lay claim, be it fashion or journalistic in nature. What I hope anyone reading this gets from my inane rambling is twofold. Firstly, that student journalism is a fun and wholesome pursuit, like spending time with your pets or spending time with other people’s pets. And secondly, that you, yes you, would benefit in many ways from entering this weird and wonderful world. Don’t believe me? Read on.

I never planned on becoming a member of Nouse, but was instead snared in a trap set by our former Editor, the dearly departed Finn Judge. Even then, I didn’t expect to stick around for an entire year. But I got sucked into the fun and games of the office, even as the rhythmic tri-termly prod week grind wore me down gradually more and more. The camaraderie of the office is something that picks you up no matter how you’re feeling, and the shared tiredness and utter contempt with which we regard being literate at the end of each prod week creates the kind of bonds not usually found outside of the Chemistry lab.

Yet there is more to student journalism than just the fun and games, you also develop useful skills and all that sort of thing. Before joining Nouse I was the writing equivalent of the bog standard comprehensive. Though as someone who went to a bog-standard comprehensive and rated it highly, I would say I may be overselling myself. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m a fantastic writer, or even a particularly good one, but I’m a lot more confident in my writing, and it has to an extent translated through to my degree. Luckily my essays on the enlargement of the Eurozone and the use of archaeology in Israel for nation-building (yes, really) have not become littered with weak cultural references, but they have become much more fun for both reader and writer, to which I must thank my time at Nouse. There is also the benefit that being involved with student journalism brings to one’s wellbeing. It is tiring and at times incredibly stressful, but the sense of purpose it provides is invaluable. When things around you aren’t going quite as well as you would like, being able to put pen to paper (well, keyboard to InDesign) and have something under your command, something you control the destiny of, is quite a fulfilling experience. I accept it may not be for everyone, but personally I have felt the benefit of being able to expel pent-up frustration on the page, and I’m sure many others in Nouse feel the same.

I recommend to anyone reading this to take the opportunity to enter the stage as I head off into the sunset. I can assure you that you won’t regret it, that you’ll develop both as a person and a writer, and that you’ll make a number of great friends. And it is to those people I dedicate the end of this article, as it is ultimately down to them that I stayed on the paper for a year to write this article.

Firstly, thanks must of course go to my beloved Comment section, both for being kind enough to publish this and for being the best co-workers one could possibly hope for. To Jan, Saskia, Ed, and Seren, thank you, and I hope you keep up the good work – it’s been a pleasure. Also I have to dedicate this to this year’s Senior Team – Jacob, Oscar, Emily, and Izzy – for putting up with my constant office presence, poor quality attempts at humour and eccentric article ideas. And to everyone else, too numerous to name, who has made this year such a fun one. I’ll be going now, it’s been a lark.

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