As a media student, soon to be graduate, it's frustrating to know that people don't know that much about my course. Stereotypically, it's labelled as an "easy degree" or a "lazy degree". Even my friends take the mick about what course I'm doing. But I understand why, because people haven't been told about what media actually is.
Media, it's all around us. You can't escape it. It's not just television or radio, but it's photography, it's design, and you will undoubtedly experience some form of media in your everyday lives. Media is communication. It can evoke feelings, memories and is essentially the way we learn too. I read an article before as to whether books are classed as media, well yes. I think they are because someone will have had to design the cover and whoever wrote it is communicating to the reader their story. If you actually just pause and look around, I bet you'll find at least 5 examples of media and I hope you appreciate the work that goes into them. The amount of thought and attention to detail.
I study Media Production at Lincoln University and it's a little different, I feel, to other courses out there. I looked at other universities for comparison but Lincoln was the only one that I felt excited by. During your first year, you get to experience all aspects of media which include Design, Radio, Digital Media, Television, Photography, Film and Script-writing. This just gives you an overview as to the possibilities of having a media degree and what careers you can go into. From this, you decide on which aspects you want to specialise in; for me I chose TV and Radio before ultimately deciding to continue with Radio into my third year. It's very flexible and we're taught how to be versatile, creative, passionate and above all individual thinkers. And above all, it's exam-free! Unless you count our live assessments... But one criticism I do have is that there is little emphasis on experience which in today's job prospects is just as important as a degree. So we have to source our own experience, unless they post opportunities to us via email, and we have to fit that around our studies. This is what I do and as much as I enjoy it, it's really hard work and sometimes actually quite stressful.
Above all though, I enjoy my course. And I think when you're getting yourself into £30,000 worth of debt, or nearabouts, you need to get some fulfillment out of it. It's not just about being employable, although that is obviously a key factor, but for me it just wouldn't be worth the money if I wasn't having fun at the same time. A degree is a taster as to what to expect from the career you're wanting, so if you don't enjoy your degree, how are you going to enjoy your career?
Now, I'm a bit of a poor excuse for a student. I rarely have the time to go out and spend what little money I have left after rent on going to clubs. The amount of work I have on my course, as well as extra work you need to do for future employability, takes up so much of your time. I'm actually looking forward to one day getting a job so that when I get in, I can leave work at work and see my home as a relaxing place! My uni day, on average, is about 9-5, discluding my work experience. But then when I get home, I work for about another 2 or 3 hours. So often, I don't get to bed til midnight or after that, and in all my uni career so far I've only ever had to pull two all-nighters to meet deadlines. This is because of the amount of extra work I put in regularly so I'm not under as much stress when the deadlines loom ever-nearer. I wish I could go out more, I wish I could let my hair down weekly, but in truth, time and money just won't let me so there's no point in dwelling on it. And, when looking at the bigger picture, I'd rather work my bum off now to get a really good degree to get me a fabulous job in the long-run.
The amount of work you get for a media course will, I reckon, be as much as any other course. Not only do we have the 10,000 word dissertation, but we have other on-going projects all requiring at least one 3000 word essay and other forms of paperwork which are the biggest headache ever! You'd think it gets easier when you become a higher year but no. Harvard Referencing, which I think all students will agree, is the biggest pain ever! And the sad part is, you will probably never use it again. I appreciate that I'm still in education, but aside from the paperwork which I do for my course, the likelihood of me needing to write a critical essay on my work with correct spacing, font, size and headers and footers will be very slim.
I know this is more of a rant but hopefully it's a little taster into what I do at uni. I am a hard worker. I'm a perfectionist. And when my grades reflect the amount of hard work I do put in, it's great! For me, when I hear my documentary or my pre-recorded show playing on air, I don't need grades because the gratification is already there. I want to succeed, and despite assumptions of my degree, I'm being taught so many things that actually give me more opportunities than a more limited course such as maths or science-based topics. With my degree, yes the hope is to go into media, but I can go into so many other jobs because of the skills I'm learning and already learnt. It's not a case of wanting to succeed as much anymore, it's a case of needing to, otherwise, what was the point in those 3 years of slaving away?
Us media students are so versatile, there's no saying what we can do.