Starting at university can be a daunting thought but it is comforting to know you’re not alone. We spoke to some of our second and third year School of Journalism trainees who have shared their top tips and advice for first year journalism degree students

Lily Jobson, third year

Lily said: “Talk to people, be observant and say yes to every opportunity because it really does help.

“Don’t be scared! There are a lot of things to learn and even though it can get overwhelming at times, it’s nothing you can’t handle. Make sure you have fun as time really does fly!”

Lily praised our practical, hands-on course and said she’s grateful for the opportunities and experiences she’s had since studying with us.

She said: “Knowing I am fully prepared to go into a job when I finish my last year is amazing!”

Finally, Lily said: “Don’t panic like I did! Trust the process and enjoy every minute. I had zero confidence in first year but going into third year, I’m a different person. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Jess Rothwell, second year

Jess said: “In my first year I wish I’d known how relaxed everything was. I was so nervous I’d have to act, dress and be a certain way, but you really can just be yourself.

“My biggest advice for first years would be to plan for everything and do it well in advance. It became very clear very quickly that things fall through with stories, whether it’s an interviewee or the entire story itself – so always have a backup plan.”

Jess shared that she wouldn’t change a thing about her journey at the School of Journalism.

She said: “My favourite thing at The School of Journalism has to be how friendly everyone is, both the tutors and the other trainees. If I could have done anything different in my first year I would have been more confident and I would have pursued more stories!” 

Olly Murphy, third year

Even though Olly had done some freelancing before starting at the School of journalism, he said it can be easy to forget how intense the journalism industry can be. 

He said: “If there’s one thing I wish I’d known before joining, it would definitely have to be the fast-paced nature of the course! Whether it be filming news packages or learning about the importance of ethics – you’re immersed in journalism quite literally from day one!

“Always trust your judgement and never turn down an opportunity. The skills I’ve developed at the School of Journalism, such as news-writing and pitching stories, have opened a number of career-defining doors for me, such as being able to freelance regularly for, which would not have been possible otherwise. 

“A highlight for me was producing a podcast on an American blues musician who managed to convert more than 200 white supremacists. It was an exciting opportunity to interview some of the world’s most fascinating, and dangerous, individuals. My podcast was recently shortlisted in the Podcast of the Year category at the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence.”

When asked if there was one thing he could change about his university experience, Olly said: “The only thing I wish I’d done differently is locate the School of Journalism sooner!”

Holly Nichols, second year

Holly said: “The School of Journalism is a great place to start out your career as a journalist. You are taught all the basic skills really early on and it’s not long before it all becomes second nature. The advice I would give to those wanting to join The School of Journalism is to just throw yourself in at the deep end. Grab any opportunity you can because every experience is a good experience here.” 

Honor Cockroft, third year

Honor said: “Take every opportunity to cover something, whether that be a general election, local elections, sports games, gallery openings – whatever it is. Stepping outside your comfort zone is when you can grow. And the experience is absolute gold dust for your future endeavours.

“Remember to be confident in what you do. We all have strengths and weaknesses and being aware of them only makes you better.”


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Honor said our BA (Hons) Multimedia journalism degree course is one of a kind. 

She said: “Working alongside some amazing people, both trainees and tutors. Everyone here really works to ensure you succeed – you won’t find another place like it!”

Have we missed anything? Let us know your advice for first year journalism degree students!

Find out more about the modules you study here.