Milestones

We put so much pressure on ourselves all the time. We are *this age* so *this* should have happened by now.
We have let it slide that people do not marry and have kids at a young age anymore so why are we still forcing ourselves into uniformed boxes of where we should be.
I’ve spoke in a previous blog about my reverse bucket list and we really should look back see how far we have come sometimes to appreciate we have grown and matured and just because we haven’t hit certain milestones that society forces on us doesn’t mean we haven’t succeeded.
I decided to have a look through some old things and I’ve made a little timeline of what I’ve done and how far I’ve come and I’m proud of myself. So here is a little unorthodox biography of my life.

Saturday, 27 February 1993
I was born. Hurray! Milestone.

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Aww look at my head fluff

Sunday, 27 February 1994
My first birthday, and my Christening. Milestone because your first birthday is important,

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My Christening day

and also because there is a chance I will get into heaven now and not be stuck in Limbo for eternity.

Now forgive me because I’m going to skip a few years and I’m not exactly sure of any more dates specifically.

From the years 1999-2006 I have added some photos to demonstrate some hobbies I took up and “mastered”.

First of all: Crafts
As you can see I have made a mobile. I’m sad to say that my craft making skills started and ended at school. I’ve never been the most creative but hey ho.

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I can only apologise for the dodgy glasses

Next ‘horse riding’. Now as you can see here I am on my ‘horse called Tiny. Screen shot 2017-07-31 at 23.03.24My lessons didn’t last that long because I became far too big for Tiny and I was too scared of the bigger horses.

Then Skiing. I actually really like Skiing, and I was actually OK at it, until I gave myself concussion, threw up in front of the school trip and had my form tutor who was an ex paramedic ask me if I’d had a poo while on the trip in front of all my class mates.Scan 2 What me being regular has to do with concussion I will never know.

In 2009 I left School, and obviously that ended with a prom as they do. I went to that and got so drunk I woke up with my head in a bin but it was a milestone I passed.

I finished college in 2011, and I got into university. I always felt like I’d done really rubbish at college but while routing through my photos I found a letter from my English teacher to my mum saying that I had been nominated for ‘consistent efforts in class and commitment to academic success’. It went on to say that I contributed [sic] “very effectively to class discussion and produced thoughtful, reflective work on the texts studied”.
I don’t remember my mum receiving this but it was nice to read that once my loud mouth opinions were recognised as thoughtful and reflective.

Then after that in 2012 I thought I’d finished with journalism at university altogether, I became a pub landlady. For one month i was the youngest in the country until a girl in the village down who was two months younger than me decided she wanted to do it and stole my title.10514758_268913253293699_7461243962295130752_n But yes, at the age of 19 I ran a pub. Then leased my own. and for a year and a half that as hard slog. I worked with no day off, designing flyers and posting them at silly hours, opening up at dinner and not closing until between 11pm and 3am depending on the day. Waking up at 7am the next morning for beer deliveries. It was hard, it failed, but I did it and its moulded me into the person I am today and I’m glad I took the leap. Milestone.

I worked in office jobs galore during the years of 2013-17. And I spoke to every type of customer imaginable. I spoke to a man who I’m probably still afraid to name who left me a message on a Monday morning calling me a waste of oxygen because a part I ordered for him was incorrect. In another office job I cried every day for two weeks because the work was stressful and I couldn’t cope. I got shouted at, insulted, and I’m pleased I did because all of those office jobs taught me how to communicate on the phone effectively. It helped me with tips and tricks of getting people off the phone, it helped me be a more empathetic person and helped me learn how to manage and deal with my stress more effectively. It was a milestone.

November 2016 I found Martyn. He’s a very happy milestone in my life. Don’t really talk about him much on here but if you want to know a little bit more click hereeee.20527585_715396201978733_1432262455_n

April 24th 2017 I started as a News reporter at Selby Times. I’m still there now and I love it. It was the job I had been after for years and I finally managed to get it. Milestone!

So no I don’t fall into the category that society wants to put me in. I’m 24, in a relationships but I live on my own, I commute to work every day and I have a dog and no children.
Now I’m not saying that one day i wouldn’t like to move in with Martyn, and get married and have children but I want that when we are ready not because society is putting a time limit on things. And as you can see from my timeline I pretty much do what I want when I want anyway, but i can’t see any pubs or any horse riding lessons in the future.

 

How to Become a Print Journalist

18986243_689514771233543_1174516583_oI have searched far and wide for blogs on how to get into journalism.

This is no disrespect to bloggers but I’m talking specifically about a traditional method of journalism; print. I have seen a thousand and one blogs on how to make money from your blog and how to make money from home which is fantastic but if you are anything like me and like the security of having your holidays paid for, sickness days sorted but still want to write…then you have come to the right place.18987340_689514221233598_923519493_o

I have come up with a ten step plan to help you get ahead in print journalism.

Step One : Take yourself seriously.
If print journalism is something you are really passionate about then make sure you take the necessary steps to prove to yourself and to potential employees that you are serious about this subject. Read books on print journalism and make sure you have a good knowledge. I recommend “The Journalist’s Handbook” by Kim Fletcher.

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This book is AMAZING!

It’s a really inspiring read. Also you can take a course or educate yourself online and make sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself in for. Print journalism is not a stress and care free job and it takes a lot if will power and determination to even get into the field let alone stay there.

Step Two: Cultivate an interest in current affairs
Oh you hate watching the news? Well hate to be the one to tell you this but half of the news that is reproduced by newspapers is just that. REPRODUCED. you have to watch the news, listen to the radio, trawl the internet and generally be an informed person. You should be watching the news ideally once a day, and making sure you are up to date with all public and current affairs.

Step Three: Leave your comfort zone
Speak to people you don’t know or join a class to find more friends and generally become a more informed and more rounded person. Journalists need to be friendly , approachable and easy to talk to so why not get some practise in?\

Step Four: Get some Contacts. 
That old saying “It’s not what you know it’s who you know” is one of the most important things you will learn as journalist. I cannot stress enough that you need to make sure you have an address book or a way of logging peoples information. I’m talking about everyone you meet! Make sure you get a number or an email and log it because you never know when you will need a quote from someone in a certain field.

Step Five: Get a blog.
Make sure you don’t lose sight of what you want to do…write. Blogs are a great way to link to other people too. You have the whole of the internet at your fingers and it is a greatly of showcasing what you can do writing wise too. Interviews love to see portfolios and even better if your portfolio is a digital one.

Step Six: Learn to gather material.
So it’s not just about speaking to people on the street, it’s about speaking to people relevant to your story. A news story in it’s most basic terms is; Go out into the world, find something newsworthy, capture it and publish it. But make sure the information in-between those steps is both relevant, true informative and entertaining.

Step Seven: Brush up your writing skills.
Surely it goes without saying but newspapers will only be hiring people who are able to write well. It would be beneficial to take a course and learn the format of a newspaper article. If you have not gone to university to study it, try and fine a distant learning course than can teach you this.

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Tried to draw an infographic, I’ll stick to writing.

Make sure you check for silly things like spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Step Eight: Gain Work Experience
Start with something modest. if you are at school, the school paper. College or university, your local paper. Older than that… definitely your local paper! Why have you not tried there sooner? In journalism it’s all about working your way up and there is nothing wrong with that. It makes you value your job more.

Step Nine: Build a Portfolio.
Work experience plus your blog means you will have a pretty hefty portfolio. Make sure you showcase your best work and nothing that may come off as mediocre. Your portfolio should show the type of journalist you are and who you want to be. Pick out pieces with a by line or blogs you had a lot of hits on.

Step Ten: Find paid work.
This means spamming all networks possible, or it did for me. I used websites such as holdthefrontpage.co.uk or indeed if you search for the right thing. The main tip I can give you here is: when you get interviews to make sure portfolio is professional and make sure the real you shows through. They want to see that you are a nice friendly person that they can trust to be the face of the paper.

I hope that was helpful to anyone who wanted any advice. If anyone has anymore questions please leave a comment below.

I Wanted To Be a Vet…

I got talking to someone at work yesterday about jobs and what career paths we have been on. It got me thinking about previous jobs and how journalism has always been the only option in reality.

I’m going to take you back to when I was about three or four. I spent weekends with my dad and from a young age my dad taught me to respect animals and would always make comments to family and friends saying “Rochelle is going to be a vet one day!” And it stuck.

 So anyway back to four year old me. I had found a snail in the garden, I think this must have been my first encounter with a snail because I ran into my Grandma’s house screaming for my dad to come outside and see what i found. As I ran back outside to show him, I crushed said snail under my tiny Clarks shoe. My dad has since told me I cried, for quite a long time.

He took me to a big country park to cheer me up the next weekend and there was loads of animals there, that thankfully I couldn’t reach and hurt! And then this big white bird appeared on the lake and I said to my dad “Look at the size of that duck!”. It was a swan.

Fast forward a few years I got my first job in pet shop to gain a bit of work experience with animals. I opened up the shop, fed all of the animals, cleaned them out , made sure they all had water and looked fit and healthy. Then there was the poorly animals in a room upstairs and I spent the rest of my shift nursing them. My favourite was this really fat rabbit called Roger. After a few weeks of Roger being on a strict diet, Roger gave birth to 3 baby rabbits. Roger was re-named Jessica quite swiftly. And I adopted one of the baby rabbits, Millie.

Then came the summer of adoptions. I was given twenty quid every Saturday for my eight hours hard graft and with this twenty pounds, I started purchasing animal after animal. I had four rabbits and a hamster. My mum quickly put her foot down. But then I was overwhelmed with all the cleaning out and the food consumption and my twenty pounds just wasn’t stretching so unfortunately I had to give my rabbits to my cousins.

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Me and a horse who wasn’t scared of me.

In the same year I had the opportunity to take my English GCSE early (Year 9 rather than Year 11) I came out with a B grade which at the time was impressive for a 13 year old but I still re took it in my final year to come out with an A*. At this point I was not doing so well in biology and chemistry. In fact I found them extremely hard and had to revise A LOT. But I never had to put much work in to English.

It wasn’t until college that I realised that being a vet just wasn’t for me. I finished first year with an E in biology and I had also learnt to drive. By my second month driving I had killed a magpie, a rabbit and a mouse. I think the problem was I just loved them too much.

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Here I am trying to befriend a baby cow

Then I had the heart wrenching decision of what was I going to do with my life if I couldn’t be a vet. I had to speak to a lot of people including my Dad and let him down gently. After speaking to my mum she told me about how when I was a kid I didn’t really play with toys. I would pick a book over a toy any day. And how I would never argue with my mum if I was told off, I would write letters and send them down the stairs.

It was only then that I realised it had always been English. I needed to revise like I revised for biology but for a subject that came naturally and I knew then, that journalism is what I wanted to get into.

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Probably best I stick to this.

A book I’ve read recently described journalism as the one night stand of writing because you give it all away in the first sentence. And that’s why I love journalism because you can write for the masses. You can write a piece that everyone will understand and there is no suspense. There is so much structure to follow in journalism and I like that for work because I can completely ignore these structures when I write for fun. The confines help me identify between work and leisure.

And just in case I needed any more confirmation that I took the right career path, on the way home from work, I killed a duck.