Esther – A day in the life of a Journalism and Media student

April 22 2020

I would love to say I wake up early to start my day, however, the reality is my mornings normally begin around 10:00 (if I don't have lectures). I start my day with breakfast and a cup of coffee while I check my emails. I then begin getting ready for lectures or tasks I have to complete that day. On an average day, I may have one or two lectures that last around two hours, or on the days that I don't have lectures, I can get some of my coursework done or independent study in preparation for my lectures. I also have a blog that I add to from time to time, generally writing about anything that has caught my attention that week or month. I attempt to finish all my responsibilities by 19:00 so I can enjoy my evening however I wish to.

One of the things that attracted me to the University of Hertfordshire was the flexibility in course choices. I was able to take a year abroad in Madrid, Spain, where I studied different modules including journalism, law and international relations. There are endless possibilities at the University, and you are (to a reasonable extent) able to tailor your degree.

On my study abroad year, I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Universidad Europe de Madrid. It was a beautiful university campus (it had two waterfalls on the campus) with a big international student community. There I got to study law and journalism, but also subjects that I haven't taken before such as international relations. I was able to study under journalists who had written for the Huffington Post and a National Spanish Newspaper, El Pais. I also had the chance to create a project alongside the American embassy in Spain to encourage more cultural exchanges between young people in Spain and America. All this while also living in the heart of central Madrid. Some of my closest friends I met while I was in Madrid and I was also able to broaden my network by meeting people from across the world. I loved my experience there so much that I plan to move back for a short time after I graduate.

There is never a dull day being taught journalism at Herts, full of fun activities and challenges. There is normally only one workshop a week in journalism that last around two to three hours at a time, in which you have opportunities to discuss your article ideas with your lecturer and classmates. In any usual class, there are normally discussions about current affairs or popular culture, making it a really interactive learning environment. Every module that I've taken in journalism so far has been motivating and has taught me real employability skills. However, the last term in particular I took my favourite module thus far. The International Reporting module was not only fun and exciting, but it also gave me a real insight into worldwide correspondence. One of the assignments I had was to complete a multimedia presentation, and I chose to focus on the racial fetishization of black women in Spain. I was able to utilise contacts I made during my year abroad and it was an enjoyable way to explore the different sides of journalism.

Going back to my typical day, I also perform my role as a journalism mentor, a new opportunity available for third-year students. My job is to assist the first-year students with lectures and answer any questions they may have. It's a great job because I've been in the same situation as the first-year students, so I am in a unique position to help other students and it also refreshes my knowledge on topics covered in first year.

Overall, because of the pandemic, life has slowed a little at the University, but when life gets back to a little more normality, so will the activities around campus. While in first and second year I took part in a lot of activities available, including netball and roller-skating as part of active students and I loved it, it was a great way to mix with different people, that you may have never had the chance to meet.

To sum up, every day at university comes with its own challenges and experiences, but as long as you work to the best of your ability and take every great opportunity as it comes, your university experience will be one to remember.