Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: The Media School should require a career prep class

I’m supposed to graduate next semester. Those words come like molasses out of my mouth every time I say them. Unsurprisingly, given my chronic procrastination and general task avoidance, I’m nowhere close to being ready for graduation. 

I’m barely 21-years-old. Going to the liquor store feels illegal. My ID is still vertical. I don’t know how to change my oil, and I can’t balance a checkbook. 

And next year I’m supposed to miraculously metamorphose into an adult? That sounds like a really funny joke. 

Except it’s not a joke — it’s my real, actual life. 

I wouldn’t be so worried if I’d become a business major with my projected career path foretold to me on my first day of freshman year. But I didn’t. I decided to “pursue my passion” and all that other nonsense. 

All jokes aside, I love being a Media School student. Though I had a rocky start, I fell in love with the IU journalism program — I just wish I felt more prepared anticipating graduation. And I wish the Media School had a stronger hand in getting me there. 

The O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs requires at least one career preparatory class upon graduation. The Kelley School of Business employs three Compass classes that instruct students with tools like resume development, professional interview protocol and LinkedIn construction. 

Unfortunately, the Media School has no such course. We have the Walter Center for Career Achievement which can help curate those skills individually, but each student is forced to seek such resources on their own volition. 

I understand the Media School is one of many schools under the College of Arts and Sciences’ umbrella — and the College is spread fairly thin. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that all students, whether or not they pursue degrees under big money-makers such as the business school, deserve equal access to the skills necessary for entering the workforce. 

My sophomore year before the pandemic, I visited a career coach from the Walter Center. I made a one-on-one appointment and showed up with almost nothing in hand — retrospectively a folly on my part. But to be fair, I’d just changed my major and wasn’t sure where to begin.

Candidly, I wasn’t given much guidance. I was told to “create my resume” and “come back when I’m finished,” but that kind of advice left me running in circles. I could never get a job or internship without an apt enough resume, but I couldn’t make an apt enough resume without a job or internship. 

I felt lost. 

But I’ve grown since then. I discovered how to market myself for future employers, make advising appointments, attend Media Career Day, meet individually with professionals in the journalism world and use Handshake, a useful tool that connects students to jobs and internships. But I feel like my path toward accomplishing these goals could’ve been smoother. 

As exemplified by nearly every column I’ve written, I have pretty severe anxiety, especially in social situations. My entire personality can be described by the two fingers touching emojis — with the hanging head to add a little bit of spice when I’m feeling particularly shy. 

So no matter how challenging career development is in general, I can say without hesitation my anxiety made it that much more difficult. It’s amazing I ever discovered my summer internship or began writing for the Indiana Daily Student in the first place. 

With this in mind, I implore the Media School to build some kind of career preparatory class into the curriculum — or at least make it part of Media 101. This is especially important for students with anxiety who have a hard time forging their paths due to fears of rejection or failure. 

I’ve loved my time in the Media School, and I’m looking forward to finding future jobs and internships. I just wish I wasn’t scrambling to organize all necessary tools at the eleventh hour.

Natalie Gabor (she/her) is a senior studying journalism with minors in business marketing and philosophy. She hopes to one day find a career that tops her brief stint as a Vans employee.

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