Lessons from a Journo-Diva

Lessons from a Journo-Diva

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Copyright Thomas Angermann

SPJ is accepting submissions from students, faculty and alumni for short blog posts about life at the J-School. If you’d like to contribute, contact sz2212@columbia.edu.

By Ariana Giorgi

I’m about three months into J-school, and I’ve already learned some valuable lessons…

1. From my professor: Unlearn the word “like”

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Chances are if the word “like” is infiltrating your everyday speech, you don’t think you sound like a valley girl… like, amiright? You probably haven’t even realized how often you say it.

Many of my teachers and professors in the past have preached the discontinuation of the horrid four-letter L word, and I always thought it was just a generational difference. That is, until my reporting professor not only reiterated this but also specifically called me out on it. He would count on his hands (sometimes running out of fingers…) how many times I said “like” in a single comment without even realizing it. As funny – and slightly embarrassing – as it was, I realized how ridiculous I sounded.

Now I’m conscious of using “like” when I talk and have started to wean myself off of it (with success… thanks professor!)

2. From my peers: Dress to impress.

Yup, the days of sweatpants in class are over. I mourned accordingly with continuous days of cupcake eating.

The J-school is filled with people from different walks of life, including those who have been dressing professionally for years. I’m not saying you have to dress like Katie Couric every day or be prepared to have your outfit judged Joan Rivers (Heaven forbid!), but dressing as if you had someone to impress gets you in the professional-journalist mindset. It can also be as simple as a nice shirt with a pair of jeans, I promise.

3. From New York City: Be ready for anything

You are going to encounter difficult situations with frustrating people, and the only way to stay happy is to handle as a mature human being. Remember that people come from different backgrounds and have fascinating life experiences to share.

Oh, and watch out for street rats on trash day.

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