Since Glynn first asked me to write about my time at Curtin for first years about to embark on their degree, I thought a lot about what I should say and the advice I should give, if any.


Okay seriously though, if you’re here because you think you really want to be a journalist or you just need that safe structure of the classroom because high school didn’t prepare you for the real world in the slightest, sit back, put on the soundtrack from The Newsroom and picture me, as the hot economics reporter played by that good looking actress, performing this soaring monologue.

When I reflect on my journalism degree there were pivotal moments that stand out in my mind as being incredibly influential on the direction I have taken as a journalist and as a person.

I began a communications degree at Curtin in 2014. I was 21 years old and had already attempted and failed two previous degrees (At one point in my life I thought I wanted to be a chiropractor, genuinely still could not tell you how many vertebrae I have). I was lacking direction and meaning in my life, which made me really sad.

I was excited to start Communications, though I really had no idea what “Communications” even meant I just was over being a free spirit because I was really more of an anxious spirit who needed a teacher to set me homework I wasn’t going to finish thus adding to previously mentioned anxiety.

Shivering with anticipation, I enrolled in all the normal units that the Oasis website told me to and off I went.

The first pivotal moment in my degree came when I made my first “uni friend” Morgaine. She was dressed like Tinkerbell the fairy and had different colours in her hair. The pretty cool girls in class (you know, the ones who aspire to be weather girls) rolled their eyes at her but I thought she was ace.

She told me about this intro to broadcast class that I should really enroll in because the teacher was really cool. I’ve always been pretty easily influenced so I signed up.

I will never forget the first class (and all the classes after, really) when I was introduced to Glynn Greensmith. I don’t think I spoke at all during that first class, I just sat in awe while Glynn spoke about journalism with passion, fire and theatrics.

As a teacher, Glynn appealed to the dramatic idealistic part of me that wanted to save the world but also look at gory pictures during class. It was because of Glynn that I considered the possibility of being a journalist.

Going to those classes each week felt like I was in Dead Poets Society. It was all very fucking Carpe Diem this and O Captain my captain that.

I soon transferred from Communications to Journalism.

The second pivotal moment in my degree was when I discovered Newsspeak.

Before I found Newsspeak I didn’t really have a lot of friends at uni, it was hard to forge friendships with people you saw once a week and then never again once the semester was finished.

I didn’t really know what Newsspeak was but I went along to the meetings to see what it was all about.

I had found my people. People who shared my passion and interests and could talk endlessly about journalism (or weird completely unrelated inappropriate things when we inevitably go off topic every 30 seconds) and our goals and dreams.

When we weren’t working on projects, we were at the pub drinking. Honestly those bastards are like a weird dysfunctional journalist family for me. There wasn’t a meeting I left having not learnt something new. It was like Glee except without the singing or any of the other story lines in Glee so not really like Glee at all actually.

The third pivotal moment of my degree was going on exchange to a small town called Kamloops in Canada. Being in a foreign land on your own, completely disoriented from all the snow really does force you to grow as a person and as a journalist.

Nothing turns you into a story teller better than hitching a ride with a family of red necks to Banff in the middle of the night with no phone battery left and only blind faith that they’re not going to chop you up and feed you to their pigs.

I digress.

No matter how I write this it’s always going to sound cliché so I may as well just roll with that and say studying overseas really did change the course of my life and connected me with people and experiences I never could have dreamed of.

The final pivotal moment of my degree came in the final weeks of my last semester.

I had only just got back from overseas and was pretty sad to be back to be honest. I only had weeks to go and felt like I was 21 again with no idea where my life was headed.

I was enrolled in an online news production class with Sean Cowan where we would spend shifts as if we were in an actual newsroom, finding and writing the news.

Admittedly I did spend a lot of those classes reading 9/11 conspiracy theories and wondering if I was getting brain cancer from all the computers in the room but that’s more of a reflection on me as a human being rather than Sean’s teaching skills.

Not only did I gain valuable insight into what real life journalism work would be like and how 9/11 was an inside job, but I also got an actual job (I know right, you can actually get jobs in journalism I swear)

Sean Cowan hooked me up with the goods and PLOT TWIST now I’m living in Geraldton working for The Guardian and having coffee with Colin Barnett one day and writing about young sally who won the spelling bee the next.

It honestly wasn’t easy making the move up here, I had just started to settle back into Perth and I had to make a lot of sacrifices but there’s not been a second that I haven’t wished I wasn’t here.

Every day I am doing something different and learning and making mistakes and doing things different and trying to bring down the local government (just kidding…)

Anyway this has been a friggin essay and I’m so sorry you’ve had to endure it but I promise I’m almost done.

In all seriousness if you’re going to take anything away from what I’ve written here, it’s that my pivotal moments at uni weren’t assignments or lectures. They were experiences. I know I said I wasn’t accomplished enough to give advice but if you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here’s something for nothing.

I remember my first day at UWA back when I was 17 (my first failed degree) some important person said, “If you leave this university only with a degree, then we have failed you”. I didn’t leave UWA with even a degree so they really failed me but CURTIN IS BETTER THAN UWA I PROMISE. Seriously, get, like, involved man.

Join Newsspeak, join the medieval club. Protest. Stir shit up. Go to Canada and hitchhike with rednecks. Impress your teachers. They will probably get you your first job. Enroll in that random feminist sex unit that you think might be interesting. Don’t smoke too much weed. It makes you forget stuff. Make friends with the eccentric girl dressed like Tinkerbell. She may just change your life like she did mine J ~end of soaring monologue~  p.s If you’re ever in Gero come say hi!