What’s their age again?

Often, these kind of conferences get so wrapped up in the here and now that they forget to remind students that there’s a life out there after college, one they had better start preparing for, preparing now.

Saturday afternoon (please forgive the lateness of this post), an impressive group of Temple University grads shared what they’ve learned in their time after college. Moderated by John DiCarlo, Temple’s student media adviser, four panelists spoke candidly and carefully about their post college years.

Some lessons were familiar (and a bit repetitive): 1) There’s no better time to go into media. 2) The Internet makes starting your own news organization more feasible than ever. 3) Print isn’t dead; it’s only changing.

With the fluff out of the way, though, I’ve got to give it to the panelists. They each took different paths, and none of them were easy — a gentle reminder to work and work hard. One young woman in particular impressed me. Straight out of Temple, she was offered a job at a small newspaper in a town she had never lived in before. She accepted. She quit two weeks later.

I’ve been told so many times that I should be lucky to get a job in journalism that it’s made me tempted to jump after the first internship offer (or perhaps the first job offer, if I’m lucky, down the road.) It was refreshing, to be reminded that happiness matters, too.

Running as a common thread for all the panelists was the idea that you shouldn’t have to settle. Don’t take the first job. Don’t go for the high salary. And if it doesn’t yet exist, build your own.

– By Michael Bodley

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