An old Rhodes Journalism friend contacted me about doing some work for Rhodes University; which sent my mind down memory lane. It made me reflect and think about what I’ve done and achieved in the past decade and what I wish I had known back then. I thought I’d write a message to my former Rhodes Journo 18-21 year self.
Hi Skatti (Rhodes knickname)
This is yourself in ten year’s time. Here is some advice that will help you as you arrive in Grahamstown as a first-year student knowing only four people.
Believe in yourself and stop being shy.
You can do anything you want so don’t think otherwise. You know you will work hard (in between Rhodes’ great extra-curricular activities and epic partying) and will get into the next year even though they cut the class in half each year. Stop being such a harsh self-critic. You will achieve far more if you back yourself and do your thing. Also, stop being shy. Just be yourself and chat to everyone you meet. Missed opportunities are a waste so go on, chat to that guy or girl sitting next to you in an English Lit. tutorial.
Maximize your potential to network with fellow Rhodes JMS students.
In the real world, it is all about who you know. Network and chat to as many people in the JMS AMM (Africa Media Matrix) department as well as other faculties. You have no idea when that connection could help you find work or get help on a project you may be working on. A Rhodes friend of mine hooked me up with an interview the other day. As I say, it’s who you know. If I think about who I am in contact with from my year and other years, I am proud to have studied with some of the top players within the South African media landscape. Magazine art directors, top interactive designers, award-winning M&G journalists, multimedia editors, advertising executives and many more. The list goes on.
Never stop learning.
Your undergraduate degree will not be your one and only qualification. (I went back to Rhodes and enrolled in a Post-Graduate Diploma in Media Management.) You will continue to learn and develop, not only in the work place, but through online education platforms too. Yes, you can travel the world and study online. Get excited. You will never believe it but one day you will have a University of Cape Town certificate from the Faculty of Commerce. Yip, you have one 😉
Make your ideas happen.
If you have an idea for an awesome blog, newspaper or business idea; run with it and make things happen. Align yourself with like-minded ambitious individuals, brain storm and turn these dreams into a reality. Just because you are a student and don’t have much experience, doesn’t mean you can’t start something cool that can blossom into something unbelievably awesome.
Have fun but follow your intuition.
Get involved into the student culture. Go out, have fun and laugh with fellow students when you attend lectures horribly hung-over the next day. Rhodes trained me to be surprisingly productive with a hang-over.
Experiment, meet new and interesting people, open your mind, fall in love, follow your heart but take your brain with you. Seriously, use your good judgment of character and avoid those idiotic guys who may seem fun. If something doesn’t feel right, get out and make a change.
Treasure your friendships.
Some of my good friends today are those I made while studying at Rhodes. Even though we are all scattered across the country and globe, and don’t have as much contact as we would like; we know that we can pick up where we left off in five minutes. Along your travels you will meet up with Rhodes mates in places you never imagined you would visit such as Nicaragua and Tortola. I’m actually moving into a flat in Sea Point with an old digs-mate this weekend. 2…3…Rhodes!!!
Don’t limit yourself and follow your truth.
You don’t have to take one job and stick with it for decades like the good old days. Follow your intuition and your truth. If you want to move from traditional journalism to advertising to digital marketing; do it. If you want to spend a few years traveling and saving money on super yachts, then do it. Just make sure there is something ticking over on your media CV for when you decide to return to your career. Whatever you choose to do, trust your inner voice as it is mostly always right.
Good luck and Carpe Diem, Skat!